Insecurity: Ogun students blame Nigerian Customs over alleged influx of firearms – Daily Post Nigeria
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Students in Ogun State on Thursday blamed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) for the alleged influx of illegal firearms into the country through land borders in the state.
But, the NCS in Ogun State debunked the allegations, describing them as baseless and unfounded.
The students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ogun, the National Association of University Students (NAUS) and the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS), say the Ogun 1 Area Command of the NCS was becoming a toothless bulldog when it comes to fighting smuggling activities in Ogun, DAILY POST reports.
Our correspondent reports that the allegation of gun smuggling is coming few hours after Governor Dapo Abiodun raised the alarm over the security challenges facing Ogun State.
At a press conference jointly addressed by the Chairman of NANS JCC, Damilola Simeon Kehinde; National President of NAOSS, Ogunrombi Gbemileke and the National Vice President of NAUS, Adebowale Abdul-Ghaffar Adeniran, the students accused the Comptroller of NCS, Ogun 1 Area command, Peter Chad Kolo of “gross ineptitude, absolute incompetence and visible indifference to securing the borders of Ogun state.”
They alleged that the upsurge in smuggling activities and the influx of illegal firearms into Nigeria had further worsened insecurity in the country.
“There has been a severe and steady decline in service delivery of Nigerian Customs Service, thereby breaking the trust and mutual relationship between the agency and Ogun State citizens.
“Beyond smuggling of contraband products, they now take advantage of the Nigerian Customs Service’s non-chalant attitude to sneak in arms and ammunitions.
“The relaxed attitude of the Nigerian Customs Service is slowly turning Ogun State to hotbed for gun-running, thereby jeopardizing the security of the armless citizens.
“More than ever, the circulation of unregistered and unlicensed guns on the street has massively increased. If this trend continues, we may start experiencing gunfights with heavy casualties across our campuses,” the students stated.
Speaking further, the students’ leaders urged the NCS to work in synergy with other sister security agencies to nip the problem in the bud, saying “This steady decline has exposed Students and the general public to grave danger by the unabated actions of smugglers in the State.”
Sounding a note of warning, the students called for the redeployment of Comptroller of Ogun 1 Area Command, Peter Kolo before August 31, 2021 or they would take to the street.
“By August 31st, 2021, the entire Students Constituency of Ogun State will not hesitate to stage a massive protest if Comptroller Peter Chad Kolo remains in charge of Ogun 1 Area,” they threatened.
Reacting, the Spokesman of the command, Hammer Oloyede, said the achievements of the NCS in Ogun under the watch of Kolo negated every allegation made by the students’ bodies.
Oloyede wondered where the students got the claim of the influx of firearms, asking what they have done as patriotic citizens to assist the NCS in intelligence gathering.
“We are doing our best, we are making seizureS of contraband items. So, what are they saying? Have they forgotten that we have several unapproved routes in Ogun State? Despite that, we do not rest on our oars. We are making concerted efforts to ensure that smuggling is reduced drastically.
“I don’t know where they got their fact or statistics from. As patriotic citizens, when you observe some certain things, you state the efforts you are making to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum.
“If someone is doing everything to combat smuggling and someone somewhere is making allegations that could be regarded as baseless, it’s uncalled for, it’s unfounded. Are they blind to the good works we have been doing? It’s disheartening, it’s uncalled for. They should not forget the nature of our borders, yet we are still policing it. They don’t know what they’re talking about.
“They should just cooperate with us. If they have information, they should release it; if they have intelligence, they should tell us,” the NCS spokesman said.
Oloyede challenged the NANS and others to buttress their claim with details when he said, “If they see firearms being smuggled, who have they contacted? What efforts have they made regarding to that? How did they get such information? Who and who have they seen smuggling such things into the country for them to come to the public and be saying all sorts of things?”
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