The village chief of Fagbohun community in the Yewa South local government area of Ogun State, Simeon Fagbohun, accused the agents of the Nigerian Customs Service invade the colony pushing the villagers to flee their homes.
The accusation came a few days after the the lifeless body of a customs officer was found in a river near the community, and another was reported missing following a clash between officers and suspected smugglers.
Mr Fagbohun, who told reporters the invasion was a retaliatory measure, said the officer’s murder did not take place in his community.
He said the officers were attacked in the village of Iya Sango, five kilometers from Fagbohun.
“I am here to dispel some misinformation I read on social media about our community about the deaths of some customs officers in this region,” Fagbohun said.
“It was not in the village of Fagbohun that the customs officers were killed, it was in the village of Iya Sango that they killed them, but the village has now disappeared. It is the Ohori who now stay in Iya Sango, they make small settlements and farm there.
“This village of Iya Sango is in Yewa land but Fagbohun is a village that these smugglers passed, it is the largest village on this axis, which has vulcanizers and schools.
“These smugglers have a stopover in our village to repair their tires and also to eat. They stopped at a place called Eti Odo in Fagbohun village.
The alleged attack
Mr Fagbohun said he was in Ilaro on October 26 when he received a call around 7 p.m. that customs officials had arrested his older brother and were taking him to an unknown destination. He said he was told that smugglers killed some of the officers.
The village chief accused customs officials of setting fire to the houses in the village, adding that the villagers now live in fear.
“We saw that they set fire to the house of Adeoye Fagbohun, one of the sons of the Fagbohun family, he is an older brother to me, they set his house on fire with three motorcycles. It is he who does vulcanization at the crossroads of the village where his house was located, his vulcanizing machine was also burnt inside the house.
“Iya Alate’s house was also set on fire, we all saw it with the police, there were also three motorcycles in this house. Nathaniel’s house was also set on fire with a motorbike. We have now seen that the remaining houses like that of the Akao family in the village, they entered the house and took the motorcycles out of the house and burned them down, three motorcycles were burned there too.
Mr Fagbohun said officers did not burn Odunaro’s house, but took motorcycles belonging to the residents of the house and burned them outside the house. They also did the same at the Ogundipe house, he said.
“I also saw that they entered my own palace too, they looted my palace, they did not burn motorcycles in front of my house but I cannot find two motorcycles in my house.
“In addition, our pumping machine, the village farmers bought, we want to use it for irrigation in the dry season, five pumping machines, they took them out of the boxes and we cannot find them.
“The machine that we were using to spray herbicides and other chemicals on the farm, seven of them were taken, about 20 boxes are also missing, all my doors have been forced open.”
State Police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi confirmed the incident but said he could not determine who the attackers were. He said the police would stop at nothing to unravel the perpetrators.
Ogun Zone 1 Customs Command spokesman Hammed Oloyede said he was not aware of an invasion by officers.
Federal Operational Unit, Area A, Ikeja, Lagos Public Relations Officer Theophilus Duniya also denied that there had been an invasion.
He said that although the command lost two of its officers in the attack in the area, the agents did not take control of the laws.
He said seven suspects were arrested with guns and Danish matches and were taken into custody as murder suspects.
“As we seek justice for the officers killed, we cannot take control of the law by destroying people’s property. So, whatever the claims, were not executed by our agents,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES integrity and credibility journalism
Good journalism is expensive. Yet only good journalism can guarantee the possibility of a good society, responsible democracy and transparent government.
For free and ongoing access to the best investigative journalism in the country, we ask that you consider modestly supporting this noble enterprise.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you help maintain relevant journalism and keep it free and accessible to everyone.
Make a donation
TEXT ANNOUNCEMENT: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401 …