The Nigeria Customs Service, Kwara Command, has said that three persons died during a mob attack on its sector 3 check point and operational base in Ilesha-Baruba area of the State.
According to a statement issued by the command’s Public Relations Officer Zakari Chado in Ilorin on Saturday, he said information received from the Sector 3 team leader in Ilesha-Baruba indicated that the three persons were part of the mob that attacked the check point and attempted to overrun the base.
“On January 8, at about 8pm, 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
“The vehicle was red coloured with registration number BDG 453 BH. The driver refused to stop, hence the operatives pursued the vehicle and successfully apprehended it. During the pursuit, the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene.
“The vehicle was moved to the checkpoint for examination, wherein bags of foreign parboiled rice were found loaded in the vehicle.
The PRO added that after a short period, the driver mobilised a large mob of organised smugglers and errant youths, armed with sticks, stones and locally made weapons.
“They attacked the operatives and overran the checkpoint. The operatives pulled back from the checkpoint with the seized vehicle. The mob then set the checkpoint and all operational items and property ablaze” .
Mr. Chado further said that after destroying the first checkpoint, at about 11 pm the mob gathered more support in large numbers from mostly organised smugglers in other locations, to attack and destroy other operational checkpoints in the area.
“The mob proceeded on foot and in vehicles to the major Operational Base in Ilesha-Baruba, where arms and ammunition, vehicles, seizures and other operational items were kept.
“The operatives mobilised 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” .
The spokesman stated that the deceased may have lost their lives when their vehicle somersaulted as operatives opened fire to stop their attempt to overrun the checkpoint.
The PRO said that the situation was brought under control at about 4am, after reinforcements from Okuta, Alapa, Ilorin and Nigerian Army 244 Recce Battalion in Saki.
“The corpses of the three 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 Police force area commander”
“At about 8 am on January 9, the operatives held a meeting with the Emir, traditional heads, resident security agencies, Youth leaders and other stakeholders.
“They plan to work out modalities to identify the perpetrators, prevent recurrence, sensitize the populace and ensure that law and order is maintained and normalcy restored,” he said.
Coordinator of Joint Border Operations Drill sector 3, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, has called on parents, guardians, community leaders, religious leaders and others to caution children, wards and followers against violence.