By Our Reporter
Worried by what happened on Friday July 18, 2021, at Igbo- ora, Community, oinIgangan Area, of Iparapa, Local government area in the south west state of Oyo, between the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A, Patrol Team, led Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller and smugglers with their hired thugs, Seyi Makinde, the state governor appears to have ddevised strategies to effectively put the deputy Comptroller Usman Yahaya’s boys under control.
. The Customs Interventionist unit officers may have played into the hands of Seyi Makinde, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governor, of Oyo state in its recent raid of the Iganagan Community and its environs to intercept 18 trucks load of Foreign par boiled rice that was allegedly smuggled from the neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic and stationed in one of the Border Communities awaiting to be smuggled into the ancient city of Ibadan and the Lagos markets. The FOU, Team, were said to have acted on information to raid the Igangan Community.
The Value News online Magazine learnt that the FOU, Zone A, Team, Leader, was said to have made efforts to make the residents understand that their mission in the state was informed by the allegations of smuggling of trucks load of foreign rice into the country, through the Community and to intercept the trucks with their support.
But the people had mistook them to be armed herdsmen and were said to have reached out to Sunday Adeyemo, popular, Sunday Igboho, who is at the forefront of the Oduduwa Republic, to come to their rescue. The activist who was to have given a matching order to the Amotekun Commander in the Zone to mobilise his men and chase out the invaders from the Community. Until his arrival.True to his promise, Igboho, was said to have arrived the Igbo-ora Community on the night of operation which heightened the attack on the FOU, Zone A, Team.
In the mist of the confusion, the FOU, Team members, were said to have made a U-turn to go back to Lagos without the 18 trucks when the smugglers and their hired thugs with the support of the armed Amotekum members who had succeeded in shielding the drivers of the trucks load of the smuggled Foreign rice to ensure that it was taken back to Benin opened fire on the FOU, Zone A, Team which had resulted in the seizure of one of the shot soldier’s rifle.
The Oyo state governor may have alluded to this when he threatened ‘’to withhold the weapon seized from the FOU Zone A, team, who had invaded the Igangan Community and its environs.
The governor had told those that cares to listen that he ‘’will not return the seized gun from the Team to the Customs Authorities until he gets the attention of President Mugammadu Buhari, a retired army General and Ali, the Customs boss. Maritime analysts would want Makinde, the Oyo state governor to forget it as neither the Katsina state born Nigerian President nor Ali, the Customs boss would listen to him. The analysts would want him to concentrate his efforts on ‘’the good governance of the state and allow the FOU Zone A, anti-smuggling officers to do their job without any obstruction in the state.
Many believe that the soldiers Co-opted into the team had given room for the smugglers backed Amotekun members to attack and seize one of their rifles. They were said to have been firing up instead of firing at the attackers who were shooting sporadically at them.The attackers, who were seen Customs personnel astheir common enemy and may have had the support of the state government.
An eyewitness account disclosed that the sporadic shooting of the smugglers and their hired tugs had also hit at six Customs personnel, with one of them being in a very critical condition.Note that the gun duel between the smugglers backed by the armed Amotekun members was said to have led to the death of the Coordinator in the Ibarapa Central Zone and two other people.
The Customs Operatives were said to have disarmed the Amotekun fighter that was killed of his branded rifle, tagged ‘’Oduduwa Republic’’, meaning that the region has been flooded with guns as obtained in Borno , Yobe , Zamfara, Kaduna, and Katsina and Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangia , a retired Army General and former military President and GeneralAbdulsalmi Abubakar,, another former retired Army General and a former Military Head of State.
The Value News online Magazine had sighted the branded hunter’s rifle at the FOU, Zone A, premises on Thusday, July 22, 2021. Abubakar, the Nigerian former Nigerian Military Head of state had repeatedly said that there are over six million rifles in circulation in the country which had fallen into wrong hands:BokoHaram and The Islamic State OF West African Province, ISWAP, Bandits, Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, Herdsmen and other Criminal gangs across the country.
Aware that they have failed to cage the Customs operatives at the Igangan operations may have forced Igboho,the Yoruba activist had to relocate to Cotonou, through the Oyo state Border Community in order to jet out to Germany instead of returning back his hide out in the state. He was afraid that he may fall into the waiting hands of the Department of State Security and Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP’s personnel who are scattered everywhere and who may be waiting in the wings to capture him. It may have been a bad decision as he fell into the waiting hands of the Gendarmes who are working closely with the Nigerian DSS and the Force at the Cotonou airport and may be extradited Nigeria to face trial as the Nigerian government is working towards it because of the extradition agreement with Benin, Niger, Togo and Ghana.
Recall that the Customs Operatives who are experts in anti-smuggling operations who had fired back at their attackers at the Igbo-ora operations had resulted in the killing of the Amotekun Commander and two others. The fallen Amotekum members was said to have also disarmed. The Magazine sighted the branded gun, tagged Oduduwa Republic in the FOU, Zone A, premises on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
These may have angered the governor who, was said to have sent a message to Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, to call his officers to order, insisting that ‘’henceforth’’ the Command must inform governors from the south west geopolitical region before embarking on any covert operation’’ in any Border Community’ in their respective states to avoid running into stormy waters’’.
Already he has instructed the Local government Chairman in the state, Traditional Rulers as and the volunteer residents in the Border Communities’’ to take over policing of their respective Areas to forestall any invasion by any intruder.
Indeed, he was said to have assured the people of a monthly spending of N10 million to sustain the new security arrangement in the state. Many believe that this is a clarion call on the volunteer residents and the Amotekun Leadership to mobilise their Commanders in the Zones to police the state would further deepen the crisis in the state.
Many had seen the governor’s open invitation to Amotekun, the state Local police, to take over Patrol of the state as giving the smugglers who have good working relationship with the group to smuggle freely in the state as they see the FOU, anti-smuggling personnel as their common enemy.Informed sources told The Magazine that in spite of the recent bloody clash between the Customs operatives and the smugglers in the Iganagan, area, there had been two successful smuggling some trucks load of Thailand par boiled rice into the country.
It was gathered that the FOU, Zone A, Operations and Lagos Roving officers were told about by their informant but had decided to turn a deaf ear, awaiting for the appropriate time to strike.