Abiodun moves against corrupt security officers at Ogun border

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…plans to set up complaint centres

By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

As part of measures to curtail the excesses of security men and paramilitary officers along the border towns in Ogun State, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, weekend said a special, dedicated telephone number would be activated where citizens can lodge complaints.

When fully operational, citizens would have direct access to Government where complaints of harassment and intimidation could be made.

Prince Abiodun said this measure became necessary because some security personnel often arm-twist, harass and intimidate businessmen and women and dispossess them of their goods on those routes.

Abiodun said this while reacting to complaints by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), South West Chapter, who visited him in his office in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

IPMAN had embarked on an industrial action on account of the allegations of extortion by security agents along the corridor.

The Governor noted that as an investor-friendly government, his administration would not allow investors like petroleum marketers to be harassed.

As partners in the quest of building an economically viable State, Abiodun said petroleum marketers would be protected against extortionate taxes, rates and nefarious activities of federal or state officials.

“We will be having a citizens’ complaints number. This will be a dedicated number that anyone who feels harassed, intimidated or extorted can call round the clock. No law enforcement agency, traffic agency or revenue agency is allowed to misbehave in Ogun State.

“Once that happens, you just call that number – give the description of who you are and the person who is trying to extort or harass you.

“Our tanker drivers,  independent petroleum marketers are people who are investors in our State and this State is an investor-friendly one, so we will do  everything to support our investors. We will not allow you to be harassed, intimidated or extorted by anyone under any guise, I can assure you,” he said.

The Governor thanked the IPMAN leadership for calling off the industrial action to alleviate the suffering of people living in the border towns.

He assured that his administration would do all within its capacity to ensure that they carry out their legitimate businesses without hindrance.

In his remarks, the South West Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Mr. Dele Tajudeen noted they came to express their grievances on the harassment of the Joint Task Force of Customs and the Military personnel.

He called on the Federal Government to properly indicate where the 20km set-back for petroleum products starts and ends.

“The Governor has addressed the issue and has promised to put a stop to it. We  have honoured him by lifting the ban on the supply of petroleum products to the State, pending when the issues would be resolved.

“Since the closure of the border, you would recall that Government came up with a policy of ’20km to the border’ but there is no demarcation, as at today. Nobody can say where the 20km is. I think, if Government wants to be sincere, there should be a sign indicating where the 20km starts from.

“Innocently,” he said, “some drivers drive into their traps and watch as their products are siphoned into waiting tankers and containers and driven off to be sold by these military people. This should stop. We are not in a Banana Republic,” he said.

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