The Nigeria Customs Joint Border Operations Drill, Sector 3 in the North Central has explained what led to the fracas between it’s men and some alleged hoodlums in Ilesa-Baruba, Kwara state.
The public relations officer of the Kwara state command of the NCS, Mr Chado Zakari gave the detailed explanation in a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday.
The statement reads: “On 8 January 2021 at about 800hrs, Sector 3 security operatives at Ilesha Baruba while conducting stop and search at a checkpoint along Saki – Ilesha Baruba axis, flagged down a Volkswagen Golf Vehicle (Red Colour with Registration No BDG 453 BH). However, the driver refused to stop hence the operatives pursued the vehicle which was successfully apprehended and moved back to the checkpoint for examination, wherein over 20 bags of foreign parboiled rice were found loaded in the vehicle.
“During the pursuit, the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene. After a short period, the driver mobilized a large mob of organised smugglers and errant youths armed with sticks, stones and locally made weapons attacked the operatives and overran the checkpoint. The operatives pulled back from the checkpoint with the seized Volkswagen Golf vehicle. The mob then set the checkpoint and all operational items and properties of the operatives at the checkpoint ablaze.
” During the attack, a personnel of the NPF sustained degree of injuries and was evacuated for medical attention. However, reports indicate that the Officer is now in stable condition. The Team Leaders in Ilesha Baruba immediately notified the Emir of Ilesha Baruba, the DPO and other resident operatives who attempted to contain the mob all to no avail. Reports indicate that the mob attempted to lynch the Emir, who had to be evacuated from the scene.
“After destroying the first checkpoint, the mob at about 2300 hours gathered more support in large numbers mostly from organised smugglers from other locations and mobilized to attack and destroy other operational checkpoints in the area. A section of the mob also proceeded on foot and in vehicles to the major Operational Base in Ilesha Baruba where arms and ammunition, vehicles, seizures and other operational items are kept.
“On this note, the operatives mobilized to deter the attack and protect the Operational Base. Therefore, the operatives had to fire warning shots to deter further attacks to overrun the base. At the time of the incident, information received from the Sector 3 Team Leaders on the ground at Ilesha Baruba indicate that 3 persons from the mob were killed during the attack, reportedly when their vehicle somersaulted when fired upon as they attempted to overrun the checkpoint.
“The Sector HQ also immediately mobilized 4 X reinforcement teams from Okuta, Alapa, Ilorin and Nigerian Army 244 Recce Battalion in Saki to ensure that the Operational Base is held and operatives are protected. The situation was eventually brought under control at about 0400 hours as a result of the reinforcement teams and subsequent show of force. The corpses of the 3 casualties from the mob were taken by the DPO under escort of own operatives and deposited at Baptist Hospital Saki in line with directives from the resident NPF Area Commander.”
Meanwhile, the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has commiserated with families of those who died in the Friday fracas in Ilesha Baruba involving some residents and operatives of the Federal Government’s Joint Task Force on Border Patrol.
“The Governor sincerely commiserates with the Emir of Ilesha Baruba Prof. Halidu Abubakar and families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident. The incident is sad and definitely avoidable,” according to a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye.
“The Governor, who has been in constant touch with all the stakeholders in the community, including the traditional institutions and security forces since the unfortunate incident, calls for continuous calm and restraints. He cautions against any activities that could trigger new tensions.
“A government delegation is to pay a condolence visit to the affected community while findings will be conducted to establish all the facts and forestall a repeat of the sad and unfortunate incident.”