Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has called on the Joint taskforce on Anti-Smuggling, comprising men of the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Customs to be civil in the discharge of their duties so as to put an end to the killing of innocent souls.
Abiodun said this at his Oke-Mosan Governor’s office, Abeokuta while playing host to the General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigeria Army, Major General Lawrence Fejokwu.
The governor recalled that his administration had intervened on several occasions to manage the crises caused by the death of some Ogun residents who were killed by stray bullets from the joint patrol on smuggling.
“Your men are involved with the men of the Nigeria Customs in a joint patrol taskforce that prevents smuggling across our border areas, but, what we’ve seen lately is that in the process of trying to contain smuggling, there have been incidences where shots are fired and innocent civilians lose their lives.
“Lately, we’ve had cases of innocent Ogun State indigenes being killed because men of the Nigeria Custom and this task force are trying to curb smuggling. I know our people are sensitive to this kind of things where school children are coming from or going to school, they get hit by stray bullets, commuters on motorcycles and traders in their shop getting hit by stray bullets, time and time again, this has happened and we have had to come in to manage those situations,” Abiodun said.
The governor called for restraint, asking the military officers to look into how to be more civil in dealing with the issue of smugglers to avoid “stray bullets killing our citizens.”
Urging the joint task force on anti-smuggling to be careful on duty, Abiodun assured that his government would continue to support the men of the Nigerian Army in the state.
Responding, Major General Fejokwu, called on the Governor to help in supplying them with information, saying the Army would work hard to curb crime in the state.
DAILY POST reports that cases of extra-judicial killings have become a source of worry to residents of Ogun State, especially those living in border communities.
During the EndSARS protest, youths of Ipokia Local Government stormed the customs office in Idiroko border to demand an end to the killings.
On different occasions, innocent individuals, including school children, have lost their lives to stray bullets fired by security agents while engaging suspected smugglers.
In December 2020, youths of Ogun State under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, staged a protest against the alleged killings.
However, a day after the protest, there was another killing at Yewa South Local Government Area of the state, being New Year’s Eve.