Invasion: Yewa Youths Ask, Federal, Ogun State Govts To Call Customs To Order
..Says NCS Threatens Yewaland Security
Concerned Yewa Youths Foundation of Ogun State has appealed to both the Federal and State government to call to order men and officers of the Nigerian Customs and Excise (NCE) for invading and threatening the security of the town.
This is just as it accused Customs officers of shooting and killing many of the people of Yewa indiscriminately.
The body stated that the constant invasion of the town by men and officers of the NCE was threatening the peace of the town, as often times the officers of this government agency arrest young men returning from their farms under the pretext of chasing smugglers.
Yewa Youths Foundation made the call in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the group, Mr Akin Olukunle and the Secretary, ‘Niyi Saanu.
The group stated that most residents of Oke-Odan now live in palpable fear of possible attack by Customs officials, who according to them often invade all the nooks and crannies of the town in their activities seemingly aimed at curbing the illegal operations of smugglers.
According to them, “It is with heavy heart that we want to inform you at this juncture that the serenity and happiness of Oke-Odan and its environs are being threatened by the invasion of the town by men and officers of the Nigerian Customs and Excise. Our hitherto peaceful town is seriously in a state of siege.”
“Most residents of Oke-Odan now live in palpable fear of possible attack by Customs officials, who often invade all the nooks and crannies of our town in their activities seemingly aimed at curbing the illegal operations of smugglers. The smugglers, who are in no way agents or endorsed by Oke-Odan, operate from Idiroko, the border town between Nigeria and Cotonou. Oke-Odan is about 10 kilometres from Idiroko. The smugglers have created many illegal routes, using many villages and towns between Idiroko and Sango Ota, Ogun State to further their activities.” The statement read in part.
The body stated that the unfortunate thing it decried here was that innocent indigenes of Oke-Odan were the ones always at the receiving end anytime the officials of the NCE engage smugglers in fierce battle, lamenting that the Customs officials, without any sense of caution, sporadically enter the town and engage in indiscriminate shooting of whoever was in sight.
Yewa Youths Foundation informed that no fewer than 15 people have died, while others suffered serious injuries from the unwholesome act in the recent past.
To buttress its point, the group cited the May 1, 2016 incident, where two promising artisans, Odude Amos Adeleke, a panel beater and Azeez Yekini, a motorcycle mechanic, were killed when some Customs officials launched an attack on the town.
The group listed Segun Otukadejo, a secondary school leaver, Samson Daniel, a farmer and three members of the same family, Mrs. Janet Odunlami (mother) and her two children Abiodun and Israel sustained various degrees of injuries from stray bullet as the invading Customs officials indiscriminately shot at the residents.
“Invariably, many of our youths and prospective investors, who had earlier expressed interest in farming in Customs officials are also laying siege to our farms, making it absolutely difficult for most of our people, who are farmers and of long standing, to even go to their farms. We have on good record instances when some Customs officers waylaid our farmers, mostly elders, on or from their farms, advertently taking them as smugglers to possibly demonstrate their seeming efficiency before their superior officers. Many of the affected farmers have landed in hospitals at different occasions and expectedly are indifferent to farming following their ugly experiences in the hands of the paramilitary officers.” the group said
Yewa Youths stated that they were very disturbed by the present state of affairs in the town and that leaders and elders, including the Oloke-Odan of Oke-Odan, Oba Olurotimi Fagbenro and other illustrious sons and daughters of Yewaland, have severally engaged concerned parties in dialogue to end the unwarranted attacks and killings of innocent people but that it had not yielded any fruitful results.
Yewa Youths stated that although they were not, in any way averse to measures that would safeguard the national economy, but that they strongly believed that the invasion of the town by Customs officers is appalling and unacceptable.
The group added that if these raids are not promptly checked, it may eventually lead to carnage, a replica of the recent Enugu killings, adding that Oke-Odan and of course, Yewa people, in general are law-abiding citizens and that they will not take the laws into their hands or do anything unconstitutional