It was with deep sense of heartfelt sorrow that Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) received the sad news of Nigeria Custom officers’ another round of killing of an innocent gentleman; Late Moses Atanda, at his Oja-Odan panel beating workshop on Saturday morning of September 26, 2020.
The deceased, who the family source that contacted RIFA disclosed was at his workshop early in the morning to carry out his daily struggle for survival when the officers of the Nigeria Custom service struck the town and started spraying bullets one of which hit the deceased.
The family struggled to rush him to Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta where he was confirmed dead. As at the time the family members were reporting the case to RIFA at 7 pm, the deceased body was still at FMC with the family.
Few minutes later, RIFA resolved the family could leave for Oja-Odan with the deceased for burial as they were deeply touched by the exit of a beloved family member.
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In line with RIFA modus operandi, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer was promptly briefed via short message as the family confirmed as at the time of reporting the case that they were yet to formally report to Oja-Odan Police Station in line with protocols.
However, RIFA urged them to ensure the matter was duly registered at Oja-Odan Police Station for record purpose and subsequent actions.
RIFA hereby call on all spirited individuals to save Ogun State especially Yewa axis from murderous armed robbers in Custom Uniform killing people even though Yewa leaders seemed to be either powerless or compromised their responsibilities of protecting their subjects.
The government, especially the Ogun State government, has obviously abandoned its responsibility as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) which provides in Section 14 (2b) that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
Could this be said to be applicable in Ogun State as this would not be the first during the year when Custom officers maimed and killed people in Yewa area and no Custom officer answered for it till date?
Why won’t they continue their terror reign in the State when they have unbridled restriction to shoot anyhow?
Has there been any other State in Nigeria where Customs officers kill freely as they do in Ogun State? Was Nigeria Custom Service created to kill Ogun people?
Is Ogun State government awaiting the day Custom officers would storm Oke-Mosan and kill government functionaries before they act?
Is Yewa people no longer part of Ogun State that deserve to be protected from murderous Custom officers?
Are Custom officers no longer answerable for their murderous adventure in Ogun State?
Can Nigeria Custom officers try the way they kill people in Ogun State in other places without meeting their waterloo?
These and many more questions beg for answers from various stakeholders to save Ogun State from murderous Custom officers whose action is not different from psychiatric patients on the run.
On 7 October, 2019, 3 students of Ojumo Community High School, Ihunbo in Ipokia Local Government area of Ogun State were allegedly killed by an officer of Nigerian Custom Service who was said to be driving a seized smuggled vehicle while the students were on the roadside.
On March 8, 2017 a commercial driver identified as Saubana Onila was allegedly shot by officers of Nigeria Customs Service while chasing smugglers in Ogun State along Sagamu-Abeokuta road.
In November 2018 at Ebute along Oja-Odan area of Egbado North Local Government area of Ogun State, a 25-year old man (Kehinde) was allegedly killed by another Nigerian Customs Service officer. The story is not different at Idiroko, Owode Yewa, Ota, Ilaro and other parts of Ogun State. Even at Ajegunle along Ilaro-Papa road, the atrocities of the Custom Officers continue unhindered. RIFA hereby call on National Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari, other authorities and the international community to save Ogun State from the perennial killing fling of Custom officers by ensuring the Comptroller-general of Customs fish out the murderous elements, prosecute them and compensate the bereaved family members of those abruptly killed by Custom officers while ensuring no such heartless killing occurs again in the future as Nigerians cannot be paying tax for them to be killed by those they pay their entitlements.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)