FG’s policies causing clashes between customs, Ogun residents – Gov Abiodun

Governor Dapo Abiodun has blamed the recurrent crises between officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and residents of Ogun border communities on some recent policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Ogun, one of the states with many approved and unapproved borders, has always been in the news over clashes between customs officers and suspected smugglers.

In the course of enforcing government policies, lives of both residents and customs officers have been lost in Ogun more than anywhere else.

Recently, two NCS operatives were killed in cold blood at a village in Yewa North, barely a few weeks after two suspected smugglers fell during a clash with the law enforcement agents.

For this reason, the new Controller of Ogun 1 Area Command of the NCS, Dera Nnadi, opined that Ogun is now being perceived as a “war zone”, asking that the narrative be changed.

However, during a meeting with Gov Abiodun on Friday, the Ogun helmsman said in clear terms that “some recent policies of the Federal Government which the NCS is expected to enforce, have led to skirmishes between the customs and the people,” who he said have lived and engaged in trans-border commercial activities for long.

Abiodun said men and officers of the NCS need to be civil in the discharge of their duties when dealing with the people.

“Be civil when you are dealing with the people to minimize loss of lives,” Abiodun pleaded, adding that when people are treated with respect, they would give the needed support in terms of intelligence gathering.

He added that “the Customs must change the rules of engagement,” stating that engaging in shooting in the markets or on the roads, which in most cases result in death, would turn the people against officers of the service.

He reminded Nnadi and his men that Nigerians are “going through hard times and there is pent-up anger everywhere,” asking that law enforcement agencies exercise restraint when enforcing the law.

Earlier, the customs boss had promised to change the perception of Ogun in the eyes of the masses.

While saying he was in Ogun to enforce Federal Government’s policies, Nnadi assured that his men would observe the rules of engagement by exercising restraint when dealing with people.

He, however, warned against the attack on his men and officers to forestall skirmishes.

It was reported that borders in Ogun State have remained closed since 2019, even as fuel supply is restricted in communities close to the international frontiers.

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