31 August 2013

Nigeria: Custom Official's Killing - Security Operatives Arrest 30 Suspects At Seme Border

No fewer than 30 persons, including some Beninoise were arrested by security operatives Friday over their alleged involvement in the killing of a personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) at the Seme Border, on Thursday.

Pandemonium had ensued at the Seme area following the alleged shooting of a villager, one Saturday Joel, by a customs official. The villagers had retaliated and randomly killed a senior Customs official, J.I Motojelu, a Superintendent and burnt his car.

Chanting war songs, the angry youths were said to have barricaded the major roads in the town. It took the prompt intervention of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Seme Division, Mohammed Mu'Azu, a Chief Superintendent of Chief police (CSP), and the border patrol unit of the Nigerian Army, headed by a colonel, to bring normalcy back to the area.

THISDAY gathered that the suspects whose identities could not immediately be ascertained as at press time were arrested by security operatives including soldiers, customs officers and the police.

Police sources said the suspects would soon be transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, for further investigations and possible prosecution.

THISDAY checks revealed that though normalcy has been returned to the violence-torn area, palpable tension still pervaded the atmosphere as buttressed by the increasing number of security personnel at the border and the Seme axis.

It was also gathered that the DPO, Mu'Azu, has since summoned all the traditional rulers and community leaders in the area, urging them to ensure their wards embraced peace.

While reading the riot act to the leaders of the community, Mu'Azu was said to have stressed that he would not hesitate to arrest group or persons who decide to take laws into their own hands instead of allowing the police do their job.

After the dialogue with the community leaders, it was further gathered that the DPO took out time to go and meet with the youths of the area on the need to allow the authorised persons to carry out investigations into the crisis.

Meanwhile, the villager who was shot by the yet-to-be identified customs officer, but is in stable condition at the moment, was said to have been transferred to an undisclosed hospital at the instance of the Local Government Chairman of Badagry.

The Custom Public Relations Officer (PRO) Seme Area Command, Deputy Superintendent of Custom (DSC), Ernest Olottah, in an earlier statement had claimed the villager was a smuggler who was shot whilst trying to evade arrest.

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