Eid-il-Fitri celebration, a day of joy which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims across the world turned bloody in Iseyin, Oyo State; leaving the community with a black Eid-il-Fitri after officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) killed some indigenes.
Reports stated that men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) allegedly shot dead five persons in the town during a clash with suspected smugglers.
The Customs men were said to be pursuing a Sport Utility Vehicle conveying smuggled bags of rice when the clash occurred. The shooting led to the death of five people who were out in celebration of Eid-il-Fitri.
However, Customs narration of the event differs.
According to a press statement released by NSC, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, signed by DSC Theophilus P Duniya, Customs claimed that the smugglers mobilized themselves with the help of mobs before attacking the officers who were on lawful duty.
Customs claimed that the officers were on routine patrol before intercepting two Nissan Pathfinder SUV vehicles fully loaded with smuggled foreign parboiled rice at Iseyin. Sequel to the interception, the mob attacked the officers with dangerous weapons which led to the infliction of serious injuries on two officers.
“In an attempt to abduct one of the officers that was brutally attacked; who sustained deep cuts on his head and other parts of his body. The assailants had taken the injured officer with his rifle before his team members whom acted in self defence, shot at his suspected abductors leading to the death of three of them before he was rescued and taken for immediate medical attention.” he said.
He added that the criminality of obstructing and attacking officers on lawful duty would yield no good for all including the Service.
Reacting to the unfortunate and avoidable incident, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdulganiyy Salau, condemned the killings and urged Customs personnel keep to the 40-kilometre radius to the border, which the law allowed them, in order to stop wasting the lives of innocent citizens.
His words: “We will no longer allow Customs officers and men to continue wasting the lives of our promising young ones, our future and hope, and so drastic steps shall be taken to look into the remote and the immediate causes of the killings.
“The Aseyin-in-Council is going to intervene in this matter and we shall get to the root of it. I enjoined members of the families of the victims to repose confidence in the traditional institution, because prompt actions are being taken to allow peace to reign permanently in the town.”
Since the killing of EndSARS protesters in Lekki, the menace of sporadic and avoidable shootings by armed personnel has been on the front-burner in the nation. Nevertheless, these inhumane acts continue and Customs says this time that it was in self-defence.
Do we need to remind these officers that there are other alternatives to dispel such confrontations such as teargas? When would these killings stop?