Personnel of the Nigerian Custom Service were severely attacked by smugglers who killed one officer, injured others during an attack on sector 3 operatives of the Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) along Sinau-Kenu road, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State, Friday.
The deceased, identified as ASCI Saheed Aweda was reported to have been hit by smuggler’s bullets and died on the spot before any assistance could come to take him to the nearest hospital. He has been buried according to Islamic right in his home town, Popogbona in Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara State.
Three other members of the team also suffered fatal injuries as a result of the gun shots from the smugglers who shot sporadically at the vehicle conveying the officers.
The incident was confirmed the Public Relations Officer, Kwara Command, Chado Zakari.
“Hoodlums laid ambush and shot sporadically at Officers. In the fire exchange that ensued, one of our officers succumbed to the cold hands of death, while three (3) officers sustained life threatening injuries and are currently responding to treatment in the hospital”.
According to him, “The patrol team, acting on information had intercepted 40 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg) and 30 jerry cans (25 litres each) of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) abandoned in the bush paths in Sinau-Kenu Road”.
“While on transit after evacuating the seized items into their operational vehicles for onward delivery to Government Warehouse for safe keeping in line with rules of engagement, a group of hoodlums laid ambush and pelted the team with guns, stones, bottles, cutlasses, sticks, charms and other dangerous items.
“The JBPT Coordinator, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, who led representatives of DSS, NPF, ONSA, NIA, Immigration and other security agencies to commiserate with the family of the deceased has ordered a full scale investigation to fish out the perpetrators of the act he described as “barbaric, cruel and inhuman”.
He commended the patriotic roles of sister agencies, as well as law abiding citizens in assisting the sector to perform its lawful duty of implementing partial closure of land borders in the interest of the country.
The Comptroller further warned smugglers that the team will not hold back the next time it comes under attack, while reaffirming that the incident will not deter it from performing its lawful duties.
“Our prayers go out to the family of the deceased officer whose sacrifice is deeply appreciated and held in high esteem. To those wounded, the Sector promises to stand by them on their journey to recovery and full restoration of health.
“This trend of unprovoked attacks by faceless cowards whose intention is to instill fear in the minds of law enforcement operatives shall not go unpunished. Neither will it dampen the resolve of officers and men from carrying out their statutory functions.
“We wish to categorically state that we will continue to prosecute the anti-smuggling crusade in spite of the unwarranted attacks.
“The sector want to use this medium to advice parents/guardians to warn their wards to desist from obstructing our operatives from performing their legitimate duties as the Sector will not hesitate to use appropriate force in line with rules of engagement and will leave the Officers with no other alternative than to defend themselves in the interest of the nation”.