The National Association Of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest has condemned the killing of a 17-year-old student of Community High School, Owode, Rilwan Bello who was allegedly killed through a stray bulled by the operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun State Command.
It was alleged that the men of the NCS, weeks back were pursuing rice smugglers, and killed one teenager at Agosasa in the Ipokia Local Government Area of the state.
Findings revealed that the NCS operatives were said to have stormed the Idiroko area in the morning and broke into many shops, sending unsuspecting traders scampering for safety even as the Operatives carried away many bags of rice, sugar among others.
Our correspondent gathered that the stray bullets from the gun of one of the operatives struck the student on the head while the operatives were shooting repeatedly into the air to ward off any counter- attack or violent resistance from the people.
It was also learnt that many people, including the traders also sustained various degrees of injuries during an ensuing stampede triggered by the gunshots being fired into the air by the NCS Operatives.
Recall that customs had earlier in March allegedly fired by men of the NCS, Ogun State Command 1, who were pursuing rice smugglers, has killed a pupil, one Sekinat Agbelade, at Agosasa in the Ipokia Local Government Area of the state.
Reacting to the incident, the Deputy Coordinator of NANS Southwest, Comrade Oladimeji Uthman called on the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali(rtd) to point out the personnel amidst his officers and ensure he should be brought to book or face justice.
Uthman also called on concerned bodies and stakeholders to join in the course of finding justice for innocent teenagers.
According to him, “The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is a revenue collection agency of the federal government domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance. The act of Parliament that established the agency considers it a paramilitary organisation, which means its members are trained and organised in a similar manner to the professional military forces.
“This also permits officers of the NCS to carry firearms in the discharge of their duty. The primary responsibility of the agency is to collect and account for revenue from Customs duties, excise duties, other taxes, charges, fees and special assessments as may be assigned to it by the Government from time to time.
‘Since its establishment, the NCS has remained a major revenue earner for the nation.
Nevertheless, the body has been enmeshed in various scandalous events with the most pronounced being corruption. In a rather disturbing manner, the men of the service are gradually becoming notorious for irresponsible use of firearms that has resulted in the death of harmless civilians.
“It is sad and awfully lugubrious that within 2 months, Ogun Customs officials were fingered in the death of two innocent students and the hospitalisation of several others. This is not a new phenomenon in the operations of Customs in Nigeria; in fact, it is gradually becoming a consistent occurrence.
“This act of recklessness has claimed lives of both students, civilians and officials of the Service. The leadership of NANS South West Zone in a bleeding heart and as we express our grievance, hereby issue a note of warning that if the killings of innocent Nigerian Students by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) doesn’t stop, or measures are not being taken to make sure this consistent and barbaric act of them stop, the Ogun Command of Nigeria Customs Service will be tagged “Blood Sucking Command”.
Also, we call on the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hammed Ali (rtd) and the Ogun Command Comptroller, Agbara O.M to to point out the personnel amidst his officers and ensure he or she is brought to book or face justice.
“Consequent upon this disheartening development, the leadership of NANS South West Zone through the Deputy Coordinator, Comrade Oladimeji Uthman hereby uses this medium to inform the Federal Government, Comptroller General of NCS, Ogun Command Comptroller, Ogun State Government, Commissioner for Education and the Local Government Chairmen of both Local Governments where the ugly incidents were recorded to expect or await a rugged and dogged demonstration of the armless battalion Nigerian Students across all Southwestern States as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic break is called off as there is no further explanation, excuse neither any justification for this consistent and barbaric killings of members of NANS by his men.
“The Comptroller General must see this as an issue that requires exigent attention. Programmes must be immediately introduced to protect Nigerians from becoming daily victims in their land. Perhaps punishing officers for reckless discharge will also serve as a motivation for responsible behaviour.
“We call on all concerned individuals, groups and stakeholders to join us in this course in order to find justice for the innocent teenagers and end the abuse of power by our law enforcement operatives once and for all. If this madness is not decisively dealt with, we do not know who will be next.
“Again, another priceless soul has been recklessly snapped. A future of our great nation has been cut down in the prime.
“We sympathize with the family of the deceased and the good people of Owode in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
May the lord grant rest to the departed soul.” Dailydigest