18th July, 2021
By David Adeoye
Oyo State Government said men of the Nigeria Customs Service raided Igangan and other parts of Ibarapa areas of the state on Friday night, not herdsmen.
Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seyi Makinde, said in a statement on Saturday in Ibadan, that this was contrary to the widely circulated report that unidentified gunmen attacked the areas.
Adisa said that the revelation was made known by Ibarapa Community leaders during a fact-finding meeting between a team of the state government and political/traditional leaders of the affected communities on Saturday.
According to him, the state government team was led by Mr Sunday Odukoya, the Executive Assistant on Security Matters to the governor.
“The political and traditional leaders of Ibarapa extraction at the meeting, described the Friday raid on Igangan, Igbo-Ora and other communities in the area by men of the NCS, as unnecessary and not well-thought-out.
“They called on the leadership of Custom Service to regulate operations of its personnel.
“It will be better if the authorities restrict them to border towns to end unwarranted attacks on innocent communities,” Adisa said.
The governor’s media aide said that Odukoya, who led the state government team to the meeting, called for vigilance and calm among the people.
He said that police in the areas had confirmed the death of one Amotekun operative and two other persons, following the said raid.
The team, accompanied by the traditional rulers and community leaders, visited scene of the incident at Igangan, Ayete, Tapa, and Igbo-Ora.
The leaders, included the Olu of Igbo-Ora, Oba Jimoh Titiloye and the Chairman of Ibarapa North Local Government, Mr Adeoye Adedoyin.
The Customs also confirmed that it was its men that were erroneously described as herdsmen.
It said its men were in pursuit of rice smugglers.
Federal Operations Unit Customs Public Relations Officer Theophilus Duniya said three of its officials and a soldier were injured in a shootout with the smugglers.
According to Mr Duniya, the incident occurred around 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
“Eight trucks carrying contraband foreign parboiled rice were spotted by the injured Customs Officials, who are operatives of the Zone A, Federal Operations Unit, whose drivers and armed accompanying passengers launched an attack on the officers.
One of the assailants was shot and disarmed, while the rest fled with their illegal goods.
“Investigations are proceeding to apprehend and prosecute the attackers, and all of the attacked Customs Officers and soldiers are undergoing treatment, including one who was shot in the head,” Mr Daniya said.
He said that the Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, condemned the attack and reaffirmed the Service’s unwavering commitment to combating smuggling.
According to the Acting Controller, the Unit will never back down or be frightened by unjustified attacks by criminal elements illegally carrying weapons and unleashing them on officers performing legitimate tasks.