The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has called on the Joint taskforce on Anti-Smuggling, comprising men of the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Customs to be more civil in the discharge of their duties.
The governor made this call on Tuesday inside the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta when he received the General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigeria Army, Major General Lawrence Fejokwu.
The governor told his visitor that this call has become necessary due to the deaths of innocent souls that had been recorded in the state, especially in border communities during such anti-smuggling operations.
He said his administration had to come in several times to manage the crisis caused by the death of some people in the state as a result of stray bullets from the joint patrol on smuggling.
Governor Abiodun said the indigenes and residents were quite sensitive to such avoidable deaths, such as situation in which “school children are coming from or going to school, they get hit by stray bullets, commuters on motorcycles and traders in their shop getting hit by stray bullets.”
He appealed to the GOC to assist in looking into how the security agencies involved could be more civil in dealing with this issue of smugglers and stray bullets killing citizens.
He said, “Your men are involved with the men of the Nigeria Customs in joint patrol taskforce that prevents smuggling across our border areas, but, what we’ve seen lately is that in the process of trying to contain smuggling, there have been incidences where shots are fired and innocent civilians lose their lives.
“Lately, we’ve had cases of innocent Ogun State indigenes being killed because men of the Nigeria Custom and this taskforce are trying to curb smuggling.
“I know our people are sensitive to this kind of things where school children are coming from or going to school, they get hit by stray bullets, commuters on motorcycles and traders in their shop getting hit by stray bullets, time and time again, this has happened and we have had to come in to manage those situations.
“I will like you to help us look into how we can be more civil in dealing with this issue of smugglers and stray bullets killing our citizens.”
Abiodun who also appreciated men of the Nigeria Army and other law enforcement agencies for standing tall in the wake of the farmers and herdsmen crisis, said his administration would continue to create the enabling environment needed by the security architecture in the state to make the state a safe haven for the people.
Earlier in his response, Major General Lawrence Fejokwu, while calling on the Governor to use every channel at his disposal to help the Nigeria Army by supplying them with information, said that they would work hard to curb crime in the state.
“We want you to use every channel available to you to continue to enhance our operations, I know that you have channels of Communication and channels through which information gets to you, I will please request that you use those channels to avail us information, so that we nib any threat in the bud before it becomes bigger,” he said