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It’s face-off between our officers, residents, says customs 

By Seye Olumide and Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
18 July 2021   |   3:40 am
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said there was a clash between some of its officers and residents of Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said there was a clash between some of its officers and residents of Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.

The report from sources, including the Convener of Igangan Development Advocates ((IDA), was that gunmen in Customs and Army uniforms invaded Igangan and attacked the residents, leading to the death of Muritala Ajasa, the Amotekun commander in Ibarapa Central Local Government area of the state.

It was gathered that some men in Customs and Army uniforms invaded Igangan in Ibarapa North local government area around 8.00 p.m. on Friday and shot sporadically. It was gathered that no fewer than three people were reportedly killed, while the shooting lasted. One of those killed was the Amotekum commandant in Ibarapa Central.

It was gathered that the gunmen killed two people at Igangan, while one person, the Amotekum commander of Ibarapa Central Local Government was killed.

However, speaking on the incident, the Customs claimed that it was the residents that attacked its officers, who were on the trail of some buses carrying prohibited items.

Customs Public Relations Officer, Federal Operations Unit, Theophilus Duniya, said: “Three Customs officers and a soldier on duty were injured in an unprovoked attack by smugglers in Igbo Ora area of Ibarapa Local Government, Oyo State in the evening hours of Friday, July 16, 2021 at about 8:00 pm.

“The injured Customs officers, who are operatives of Zone A, Federal Operations Unit, sighted eight trucks carrying smuggled foreign parboiled rice, whose drivers and armed accompanying passengers launched attack on the officers.

“One of the attackers was shot and disarmed, while the others retreated with their smuggled wares.

“While investigations are ongoing to arrest and prosecute the attackers, all the attacked Customs officers and soldiers, including one that was shot in the head, are receiving treatment.

“Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, condemns the attack and reiterates the Service’s uncompromising resolve to suppress smuggling.”

Meanwhile, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has condemned the reported attack in Iganga. Adams, who spoke on the heels of the recent attack in Ibarapa, said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, that the attack was predetermined to provoke and wreak huge havoc on residents of the area.

The Yoruba generalissimo, while declaring that the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the Southwest security Stakeholders Group (SSSG) would not allow bandits and killer herdsmen to turn Ibarapa into their haven, also maintained that the recent killings in Igangan confirmed the alarm raised five days ago by the Oyo State coordinator of the OPC, Rotimi Olumo, of the planned attack by gunmen on residents of Ibarapa during the festive period. 

Aare Adams, however, expressed worry at the killings, saying information at his disposal also revealed that the assailants allegedly wore Customs and Army uniforms, even as they were initially repelled by local hunters, which eventually led to the death of five persons in Igangan, and Ayete, while a Commander of Amotekun was killed in Igbo-ora, Ibarapa North local government. 

He said: “… We got information of the impending attack, and it was widely reported in the media that the killer herdsmen were on another mission to provoke and wreak havoc on residents of Ibarapa, especially during the festive period. But sadly, nothing was done by concerned authorities.

“It is on this note that I urge all the local security in the area to support security agencies in the state to put a lid on the spate of insecurity in the area. We cannot continue to lament the killings of innocent people in Ibarapa and its environs.”

Aare Adams also urged the Federal Government to unravel those behind the recent attack in Ibarapa, maintaining that the OPC and the Southwest security Stakeholders Group are ready to offer intelligence reports and updates to security agencies to forestall further attacks. 

In another development, the Yoruba generalissimo berated the Federal Government over the order that the electronic media should desist from reporting details of terror attacks in the country.

Adams said the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) attempt to stop reports on terror attacks was not in Nigeria’s interest, as it would definitely worsen the security situation in the country.

“Most times, I feel sad at the way the Federal Government handles sensitive security issues with brazen impunity,” he said. “It shows the FG is on a different page with the victims of these senseless attacks and killings. It is sad that the FG could attempt to stop the media from reporting details of terror attacks in this time and age. Of what interest is this order to stop or downplay reports of terror attacks to Nigeria and Nigerians? It is definitely not in Nigeria’s interest, as the country is seriously facing huge security challenges.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should know now that the greatest challenge of his administration is insecurity and the management of sensitive information, especially on how best to tackle security challenges in the country. So, for such a government to now pressure NBC to stop radio and television from reporting details of terror attacks amount to putting the entire nation in the dark, while giving bandits special leverage and licence to maim, destroy and kill innocent people at will.”