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Monday, 4 May 2020


Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd). The Comptroller-General of Customs

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.

It would also be recalled that such in recent times claimed the life of a young man Mr. Odushina Opeyemi at Ihunbo in Ipokia LG of Ogun State and Sekinat Agbelade a secondary school student and a member of NANS.

While justice is still being sorted for the barbaric murder of Agbelade Sekinat a fifteen year old student and resident of Agososa in Ipokia Local Government by men of the Nigerian Customs Service Ogun Command, it is barely a month later that officers of the same agency has brought to an untimely end, the life of another teenager Riliwan Bello of Area Community High School Owode, Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State in an alleged raid of smuggled goods.

It was gathered that many people, including the traders, were also said to have sustained injuries during an ensuing stampede triggered by the gunshots being fired into the air by the NCS Operatives.
It is gradually becoming clear that the life of Nigerians mean nothing to this law enforcement agency.
The preponderance of unguarded shootings by the customs officers is indicative of the weak training they possess. 

What the foregoing advises is the urgent need for the training and re-training of the officers of the Nigeria Customs Service on the handling of firearms. 
If Custom officials must carry firearms then they must be well-trained in order to ensure the safety of the society. 

According to a reliable source, it was learnt that Riliwan Bello, a student of Area Community High School, Owode and member of the Students body was allegedly killed by a stray bullet fired by men of the NCS, Ogun 1 Area Command.

The incident happened when men of the NCS broke into some shops in Owode to evacuate bags of sugar, rice among others, which they suspected had been smuggled into the country. In the course of the evacuation, they were shooting sporadically into the air for reasons best known to them.
It was said that Bello was killed by a stray bullet which hit him on the head. He was reportedly rushed to a nearby hospital, where he eventually gave up the ghost.

It is not the duty of Customs to shoot innocent Nigerians in the name of impounding smuggled goods.

It should be recalled that there was an earlier report made by NANS South West Zone, demanding justice for the murder of an Ipokia teenager, Sekinat Agbelade. 

We specifically gave an ultimatum to the Government and its relevant agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous act be brought to book. We also demanded for a total review of the operations of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to be implemented. 

We added that armed pursuit of fleeing smugglers be declared completely illegal, especially in inhabited areas. From our observation, non of the demands has been considered for granting.

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.

Until all are Freed,
All remain Slaves.


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