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A community in Ogun state has petitioned the Nigeria Custom Service for illegal raiding, detention and arson carried out by the some Custom officers.
The community, Fagbohun Village is situated close to the Yewa River in the Idogo axis of the Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The community was allegedly raided by some Custom Officers who accused the community of aiding the smugglers.
Two of the NCS Officers were reported to have lost their lives during a clash between the operatives and suspected smugglers in a neighbouring village .
But, the operatives of the NCS Federal Operating Unit, Lagos, reportedly invaded Fagbohun community, burnt some houses and arrested some residents .
The Public Relations Officer of the Federal Operating Unit ,zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, Theophilus Duniya had confirmed the arrest of seven villagers ,but, denied allegation of arson .
The community through its lawyer, Ayodele Omoniyi of Bayo Omoniyi and Co in the petition dated November 19, 2021, complained over the continuous detention of their members for the offence the community claimed they knew nothing about .
The community demanded that the suspects should be released to the police to handle their prosecution .
The petition was sponsored by some members of the community include, Johnson Fagbohun, Yemi Ogundipe, Madam Juliana Fagbohun, Kehinde Ogundare on behalf of the community, titled: “unlawful detention, acts of impunity and arson by men of the Nigeria Custom”.
The petition reads partly: “by virtue of the geographical location of many towns and villages in the Yewa South, Yewa North, Imeko – Afon and Ipokia Local Government Areas of Ogun State, it often serves as the routes for smugglers bringing in imported rice from the neighbouring Republic of Benin.
“It is a notorious fact that these Smugglers are mostly none natives, though, there may be few natives engaged in assisting the smugglers to ferry the smuggled rice in bits with motorcycles.
“It is also a notorious fact, that by reason of unemployment, most youths and men now engage in using their Motorcycles for commercial purposes, not necessarily connected with carrying smuggled goods, thus, each household may have two or more motorcycles.
“There are also facts and figures to show that smuggled rice of large proportion finds easy entry through connivance of corrupt Customs personnel along the border routes and that the smugglers are well known to the Custom Officers.
“On or about the 26th day of October, 2021 some unidentified rice smugglers were alleged to have waylaid some customs officers who were on patrol and attacked them.
“Two of the officers were allegedly, abducted with their service rifles and were later discovered to have been murdered in cold blood.
“Some officers of the Nigeria Custom Service, acting upon a spurious allegation that the masterminds of the killing of two of their officers must be natives of Fagbohun Village swooped on the Village.
“Acting in a most primitive manner, the Officers who came with the Patrol Van with the mark “F.O.U Ikeja” and to arrest the supposed suspects in the case came with containers filled with Premium Motor Spirit and set ablaze houses and several motorcycles found in the residences of those arrested, five of whom were taken away.
“The community is, however, calling for justice from the Nigeria Custom Service.
The Nigeria Custom Service be made to hand over the suspects in their custody over to the Nigeria Police which body is the one constitutionally vested with powers to investigate a case of murder and release them from the illegal detention in which they are presently being held.”