Two dead as smugglers, operatives of National Border Drill engage in bloody clash

•Abiodun calls for calm

A policeman and one other person have been reported dead, as a result of a clash between the operatives of the National Border Drill and suspected smugglers, on Saturday, at Imasayi in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.

This development has left the town deserted as residents were said to have fled the town for safety.

The operatives of the anti-smuggling operatives of the National Border Drill, including Customs and police officers were said to have gone into the in search of suspected contrabands.

An account told the Nigerian Tribune that the killing of a youth by a law enforcement agent angered the residents of the town, which resulted in a bloody clash.

“The violence started around 12 noon on Saturday. A combined team of Customs men and the police came around looking for smuggled rice. After they probably impounded some, they now started shooting sporadically. Somebody was shot and another person was wounded by the security officers.

“But unfortunately, I understand that one policeman shot at a young man. That young man is a local, who had metaphysical powers and the gunshots had no effect on him. In the process, the young man commanded the policeman to bring his gun. He collected it and shot him dead.

“Thereafter, the operatives escaped from the scene and later mobilised back with soldiers. They started attacking and arresting anybody in sight.

“As I speak to you, the operatives have vandalised the palace of Olu of Imasayi. The town has been deserted; people have fled to the villages for fear of being arrested,” the source said.

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The Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Command, Abdullahi Maiwada, when contacted confirmed the killing of an operative of the border drill.

“I can only confirm the incident. The details of the incident will be communicated from the appropriate quarters,” he stated.

Also the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, equally confirmed that a policeman was shot dead in the incident.

As at the time of filing this report yesterday, the palace of the Olu of Imasayi, Oba Adesola Oni, had been vandalised while several vehicles and motorcycles belonging to residents have either been destroyed or set ablaze.

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has called for restraint in the use of lethal arms by law enforcement officers in the state.

Abiodun said he had to intervene in the unrest that erupted in Imasayi, when a joint task force, comprising of the Military, Police, Customs, Immigration and the Department of Security Services (DSS), had a face-off with the youths of the community which resulted in the untimely death of an officer.

He said he had been in contact with relevant authorities in the Army and the Nigeria Customs Service.

In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, added that talks are ongoing towards apprehending the suspects who allegedly killed a uniformed officer in the melee.

The governor said a manhunt had been launched on the suspect who also made away with the slain officer’s weapon.

The statement said: “Already, the manhunt as at this morning (Sunday), has yielded result with the recovery of the said stolen rifle, but the search to identify and arrest the culprits continues under the strict directive of the Governor.

“Some people already arrested in connection with this criminal act are giving useful information that would lead to the arrest of the main suspect.”

He urged law enforcement agents to exercise restraint and be humane in carrying out their duties.

He, however, warned that the Ogun State Government will not condone assault on any serving officer of the Military, Nigeria Police and the Paramilitary who daily sacrifice their private lives to serve the public.

He commiserated with families of the slain officer and promised that no stone would be left unturned to unearth the circumstance of the crisis.

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