In Kwara: Angry Youth, Prevent Customs From Arresting Suspected Smuggulers

Youth of Offa Garage area of the Ilorin Metropolis are protested on what they described as the gestapo way men of the Nigerian Customs service pursued a trailer allegedly carrying contraband goods to the area.

When our reporter got to the area about 8pm, patrol vehicles of men of the Nigeria police force the road leading to Asa-dam area while the angry youth were burning tires few metres away on the same route.

The other Lane which had the suspected trailer parked across the road had tens of youth converged venting their pleasure.

One of the youths simply identified as Mohammed who said he was an eyewitness recount told Newsmen that he don’t know where they were pursuing the trailer from but when the trailer was almost at the roundabout they started firing.
“They shot at the tires and the trailer driver lost control. They didn’t want residents to interfer but this arrogance need to stop, people are suffering we don’t want security agents killing us again.

“We all came out and they went to reinforce with three full vans but we stood our ground.

“They later checked the trailer and saw that it was chicken feed inside so they pleaded that they would buy the tires but till now they are yet to return with the tires.”

Another youth who refused to disclose his name but swore he was an eye witness collaborated Mohammed queried that why Customs could be firing indiscriminately in an urban setting.

“This is how they will tell us it is stray bullet but there won’t be a stray bullet if they don’t fire indiscriminately within a highly populated area like this.

“If they had done their jobs well it wouldn’t be any contraband goods in the cities?” he queried.

In phone chat with our reporter, the spokesman for the service, Mr. Zakaria Chado, confirmed the incidence. He however denied that no officers fired at the tires of the trailer.

“Yes, acting on credible intelligence our men pursued the trailer but to escape the arrest the driver refused to stop and when he got to that area, he crossed the road and deflated his own tires to ensure that our men couldn’t take him to the office.
He them went ahead to mobilize thugs to attack our men and to avoid causalities our men withdrew from the scene to allow men of the Nigeria police Force maintain law and order,” he said.

Asked why men of the service had to raid within the city, the customs’ spokesman said that the porous border situation of the country made it difficult for them to man all the entries to the country.

“Moreover, we are empowered by law to search anywhere without a warrant if we suspect that there’s a contraband goods. We can come into your house without warrant if we suspect you have a contraband goods,” he disclosed.

Chado who said officers only fired to the air when the suspected thugs were trying to mob them.

He told our reporter that the driver wouldn’t have tried to escape if he was not carrying contraband items.

In his reactions, the Kwara State Police Command spokesman , SP Ajayi Okasanmi, told our reporter that he is yet to hear from the Customs recounted what he had already been told.

“We heard that the Customs pursued a trailer suspected to be carrying contrabands, shots were fired and the trailer veered off the road.

“I don’t have the side of the Customs but why will an innocent driver run from law enforcement agents, that’s the riddle,” he said.

Efforts by our reporter to get the driver proved abortive as he was said to have left the vicinity of the incident. Also, efforts to check the trailer was rebuffed by men of the Police at the scene for security reasons.

What do you think?

Written by Issa Saliu

I am a journalist based in Ilorin

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