Customs men behind invasion of Ibarapa, killings, leaders allege

There was a fresh twist to the Friday night attack on Ibarapa communities as more information about the perpetrators of the attack emerged on Saturday. Contrary to earlier reports citing unknown gunmen as being behind the attack, which left about three persons dead, pieces of evidence found at the scene of the attack, Sunday Tribune learnt, suggested otherwise. Though community leaders in Ibarapa area, on Saturday had implicated men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as being behind the attack, some of the evidence, including guns, sources claimed, had prompted the GOC of the military formation in Oyo State to sanction an investigation into the matter. 

Political and traditional leaders of Ibarapa had, on Saturday, described the evening raid on the Igbo Ora and other communities by men of the Nigeria Customs as unnecessary and not well-thought-out. 

The leaders, including the Olu of Igbo Ora, Oba Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, and the Chairman of Ibarapa North Local Government, Hon. Adeoye Adedoyin, spoke at a meeting held in Igbo Ora with a fact-finding team of the Oyo State Government, led by the Executive Assistant on Security Matters to Governor Seyi Makinde, CP Sunday Odukoya (rtd). The leaders said that it was regrettable that the Customs Service troubled the peace of the area when its men stormed Ibarapaland, shooting sporadically. The Olu of Igbo Ora, who was first to speak, said that the Customs’ raid left Igbo Ora and other adjoining towns in disarray following the raid that left three persons, including an Amotekun operative dead. 

“The raid left so much turmoil in our communities as the Customs men came, shooting sporadically. Many of our people ran helter-skelter. 

“We want it stated loud and clear that our communities, Igbo Ora, Igangan and Ayete are not border towns. Why should Customs turn the communities into theatres of bloodshed and war? 

“We want Customs to regulate their operations. It will be better if the authorities restrict them to border towns to end unwarranted attacks on innocent communities,” the Olu of Igbo Ora said. 

Chairman of Ibarapa North Local Government, Hon. Adedoyin, also told the meeting that the raid left a sour taste in the mouth, as, according to him, peace had returned to the area following the series of security steps taken by the State and Local Government after the last attack on the area by suspected herdsmen. 

“We have received the cooperation of state and non-state actors in our efforts aimed at boosting security. The hunters, Amotekun and other security agencies have been cooperating fully, but we were shocked to hear reports of sporadic gunshots and commotion that ensued after a raid by men of Customs Service. 

“That raid is regrettable because it threatened the peace of our area,” the Council Chairman said. 

Odukoya, the Executive Assistant to Governor Makinde, in his address, called for vigilance and calm among the people, adding that the community policing and integrated policing initiative of the administration has been effective. He said that the police in the area have confirmed the death of one Amotekun operative and two other persons following the said raid. The team, which later visited Igangan, Ayete, Tapa, locations in Igbo Ora, was accompanied by traditional rulers and community leaders from across Ibarapa land. 

 

We shot rice smugglers —Customs 

In his reaction, the spokesman of the Zone A of Customs, Theophilus Duniya, said its men encountered some rice smugglers in Igbo-Ora who engaged them in a gun battle. 

“The injured officers on Friday sighted eight trucks carrying smuggled foreign parboiled rice. When trying to stop the trucks, the passengers who accompanied the trucks fully armed, launched an 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 soldier, 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 uncompromising resolve of the Service to suppress smuggling. 

“The Unit, according to the Acting Controller, will never relent or be intimidated by this unwarranted attacks by criminal elements unlawfully bearing arms and unleashing same on officers on legitimate duties.”

 

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