Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Dapo Abiodun, has said his administration would investigate the circumstances of the death of three students allegedly killed by the vehicle of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Monday.
The Governor said “We respect the sanctity of human lives in Ogun State and Government exists to provide security and welfare for the people. No matter the circumstances, we found this condemnable. We would not fold our arms and watch our future leaders killed in that manner”, a statement by Kunle Somorin, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Abiodun said.
The statement added that while the Governor was shocked at the sad news of the death of the three students of Ojumo Community High School, Ihunbo in Ipokia Local Government Area of the State, he warned security men, chasing suspected smugglers or hoodlums to be wary of the rights of citizens in all circumstances.
The students, according to reports, had just closed from school, when they were reportedly hit by a vehicle being driven by an official of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), who were in hot chase of suspected smugglers.
While the three students were reportedly killed, other students and market women were also said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries, as the Customs officials chased suspected smugglers.
The State Government, the statement added, would not just investigate the circumstances of the gory killings of these potential leaders of tomorrow, but would do everything possible to prevent a recurrence and would ensure that indicted persons are brought to justice.
The Governor prayed that the Almighty God would “grant the families of these innocent children the fortitude to bear the loss” and pleaded with the people not to take laws into their hands in dealing with the unfortunate situation.
The Governor, however, advised security personnel, especially NCS officials, to apply moderate engagements with suspected smugglers or hoodlums along the border towns to avoid such loss of lives and property in future.
Meanwhile, Abdullahi Maiwada, Spokesman for Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) Ogun Area 1 Command has said that the unfortunate accident only involved a twenty year old student of Ojumo Community Secondary School, Ihunbo, Opeyemi Odusinan who died instantly from the accident while three people sustained various degrees of injuries.
Maiwada, in a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday at Abeokuta gave this clarification explaining that two of the injured had been discharged with only one Sunday Adeniyi (Adult male Nigerian) receiving treatment at General Hospital Idiroko.
He said officers of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Ogun Command on routine patrol on Monday had arrested a vehicle (Mercedes Benz ML) suspected to have been smuggled into Nigeria. I
Maiwada disclosed that in the process of conveying the said vehicle driven by an officer of the Service fully escorted by official patrol vehicle, an okada man conveying a passenger crossed their path and that in s swiftresponse by the driver to avoid collusion with the said okada rider, he lost control and rammed into some group of people coincidently on a market day of Ihumbo Community.
He said “it is on this premise that the Command wishes to register its deep heartfelt condolences to the family, school and friends of this young and promising child who lost his life in this unfortunate circumstances.
We strongly commiserate with you in this trying moment and it is our prayer that God will give you the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss The Command is also working assiduously to cater for the injured and to cushion the effect of this unintentional tragedy”.
The statement says “it is however important to condemn some mischief makers who hijacked the situation and attacked Customs vehicles within sight in a community known for upholding peace and rule of law.
Meanwhile, Normalcy has since been returned with the intervention of Police, Military personnel and other sister security agencies.
We wish to reiterate our sincere sympathy as this is purely an accident and not the narrative of stray bullets or pursue as insinuated by some citizen journalists and a section of the traditional media”