The Ogun state government has concluded plans to set up Customs, students’ relations committee to end incessant killings of students and residents of border communities in the state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun stated this Friday, during a meeting with the Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun state Command I, Mr. Michael Agbara and representatives of the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS), led by the National President, Comrade Gbemileke Ogunronmbi and representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at the Command’s headquarters in Idi-Iroko border.
The meeting which was facilitated by the office of the Special Assistant to governor Abiodun on Students’ Matters, Comrade Azeez Adeyemi was held after a five-day on the spot assessment tour of border areas of Idi-Iroko, Ipokia, Imeko, Ilara and Ijoun, among others by the students.
The governor who was represented by his Special Assistant to governor Abiodun on Students’ Matters, Comrade Azeez Adeyemi expressed worry over the high rate of incessant killings of students and residents in the border communities by operatives of the NCS in the course of arresting smugglers.
It would be recalled that the leadership of NAOSS and NANS had threatened to mobilise students across the country to occupy the state Command’s headquarters of NCS to protest the killings of innocent lives.
But the governor, while addressing the students and the Comptroller, commended the students for shelving the planned protest and embracing dialogue to peacefully resolved the issue.
According to him, the Committee would comprise representatives of the NCS, Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA), NAOSS, government officials and community leaders.
He said, the members of the committee would be inaugurated as soon as the ban on social gatherings in the state is lifted “so that they can begin to hold their meetings and also come up with suggestions that will lead to ending the lost of innocent lives in the area.”
“Ogun as gateway State has the highest number of international land borders and this is to our own advantage but as we reap the economic gains of this, we must also be concerned about the lives our the citizens and this is why we are putting this committee together”, the Governor added.
The National President of NAOSS, Gbemileke Ogunronmbi in his submission, appealed to residents of border communities, especially youths to shun smuggling and other vices,
He said the men of the NCS must be allowed to carry out their responsibilities, saying, “what we observed during our tour of the communities is that residents of these areas, especially youths usually mobilise themselves to attack operatives of the NCS whenever they carrying out their duties and this is not good at all.”
“It is during these attacks that innocent lives are lost. We as student community will no longer take this. Part of our resolution is that, henceforth, any community that men of the NCS are attacked and there lost of life, the monarch and leaders of that community will be made to produce those responsible for the attack”, Ogunronmbi added.
He also called on community leaders, monarchs and politicians from the border communities to join hands together and support men of the NCS.
In his response, the state Comptroller of NCS, Michael Agbara commended the students for embracing dialogue and honouring the Command’s invitation to come and see things for themselves.
According to him, Ogun state has some of the oldest borders in the country with seven approved borders by the Federal government.
He identified hostility by members of the border communities, inadequate operational vehicles and shortage of staff as some of the challenges the Command is facing.
Agabara also attributed the high rate of smuggling in the state to youth unemployment and lack of government’s presence in the border communities.No tags for this post.