Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has warned the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), against causing unnecessary death in the discharge of its duties in the state.
The governor said the service must find a better way of managing relationships with the people in the border area.
Abiodun made this known at the inauguration of the Forward Operations Base (FOB), of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), at Oja- Odan, in Yewa North Local Government Area of the state.
The governor said that the state cannot continue to accept a situation where deaths are recorded whenever the NCS engages the people in the discharge of its duties.
He noted that it was important for the agency and the people to find a way to relate with each other, adding that the last incident, which recorded the death of some people was a very difficult situation to manage.
“We must have a way of managing our relationship. We cannot continue to have incidences where the customs are engaging our people and there are loss of lives. This has happened a few times too frequently.
“I want to seize this opportunity to plead with the Nigeria Customs to find a better way of managing this relationship. We cannot afford to be losing our people, particularly kids, who are most times innocent,” he said.
Abiodun called on the people living at the border area to be responsible citizens, saying that the people of the area cannot afford to be lawless as the state government has zero tolerance for lawlessness, cultism and smuggling.
“I also want to plead with our people; there is what is called ‘Responsibility Consciousness.
“We must learn to be responsible citizens. We must live within the ambit of the law. We cannot afford to be lawless. I have said it over and over again, we will not tolerate lawlessness, criminality, cultism, smuggling in Ogun State. We must learn to be law abiding,” he said.
Abiodun further disclosed that the commissioning of the Forward Operations Base is a challenge to the men and officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service to show more commitment to duty, adding that the state government would support the service within available resources.
“With this Forward Operations Base, FOB, that is being commissioned today, I challenge the men and officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service that our disposition of friendliness with our neighbors should not be abused by criminal elements to come into the country.
“The responsibility is yours and you owe all of us that. Whatever support requires, we as an administration will provide within available resources,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola said that the federal government does not support the indiscriminate use of fire arms by any of its arms wielding agencies, adding that he will take it up with the agencies involved.
He said that government regrets the unfortunate loss of life of its people, even as he noted that the border drill was in the best interest of the nation, commending President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the drill.
He said: “We are not encouraging the reckless use of arms. We regret the unfortunate loss of life. I want to believe we will soon take that into check. The drill is in the interest of the country.
“We must commend President Buhari for supporting the drill. We urge our people to support us in putting an end to the sabotage of our economy by those who are bent on destroying it.”
The Comptroller General of NIS, Controller Mohammed Babandede commended the state command for bringing a new vigour, saying that the state has 2 Forward Operations Base out of the twelve expected to be commissioned in the country.
He disclosed that the immigration service will continue to respect human rights in the discharge of its duty, adding that the current activity going on at the border was not a border closure, but a border drill that will ensure that anyone leaving the shores of the country does that not through illegal but legal routes.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Comptroller of Immigration, Ogun State command, Controller Doris Braimah said that the command had being able to create a synergy with other security agencies, sensitize migrants on the E- registration program, as well as the establishment of the personnel resource center.
She added that the commissioned Forward Operations Base is one out of the two in the state.
The Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewa land, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, called on the interior minister to look into the indiscriminate shooting of people of the area.
Oba Olugbenle noted that officers of the Customs Service in the discharge of their duties should put in mind that the life of the people should also be protected.
Olugbenle also called on the minister to use his good office to ensure that sons and daughters of the district are considered in the recruitment exercise of new officers.
He also urged the people of Oja Odan to come together and join hands in ensuring that the vacant stool in the town was filled at a time when the state has a listening governor.