Tension has gripped residents of Oke Odan community in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun state, southwest Nigeria following the alleged killing of six persons by trigger-happy customs officers on Sunday.
The incident occurred around 6:30pm at the Alakara Bus-Stop in Oke Odan while the world marked Workers’ Day.
It was gathered that the customs officials were chasing some suspected rice smugglers in a long convoy on their way from Igolo, a border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic, and heading towards Sango in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun state.
Residents of the community revealed that all those killed were residents of the community who were carrying out their various activities when they met their deaths as a result of stray bullets allegedly from the customs officers.
Three of those killed, according to witnesses, are children. A motor mechanic, panel-beater and a secondary school leaver, simply identified as Ade, were also shot and killed.
This incident came barely five days after the kidnap of Senator Veronica Iyabode Anike Anisulowo in the Sawonjo/Imasayi area of Yewa North Local Government of Ogun state.
She was abducted while returning from her farm.
Coordinator of Yewa Connecting Minds, YCM, Prince Ekunola Gbenga Abraham, while confirming the incident, said the community would not sweep the killings under the carpet.
He alleged that the killing of the villagers was becoming one too many on the part of the customs officers who fire directly at villagers and later claim that the victims were shot at because they are smugglers to cover up their tracks.
Abraham demanded that the Comptroller-General of Customs should hand over the killer officer or officers to the police for peace to reign in the area as the village was ready to put an end to the unprovoked attacks on villagers by customs officers who would always claim that their victims were smugglers.
“Enough is enough of this wanton killings. We want the Comptroller to hand over the killers to the police to investigate the matter,” he said.
The YCM further condemned what it described as a desperate attempt to exonerate the real culprits behind the killing in the area.
The organisation accused some customs officers in the area (names withheld) of aiding rice smuggling and collecting bribes from perpetrators while allowing their men to kill innocent people who have no business with smuggling.
The group said it is supporting residents of the town who have called for the prosecution of all those involved in the heinous act by the appropriate security agencies
Abraham warned that shielding the perpetrators from justice would encourage more killings as they would be encouraged to consider their murderous acts as normal.
“I am appealing to our people go about their legitimate businesses without fear of disruption from any quarters.
“I also call on our members to remain calm in the face of provocation; we have confidence in the government and justice shall be done,” he said.
Source: PM News