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The lawmaker representing Yewa North and Imeko-Afon Federal Constituency of Ogun State and international human rights lawyer, Kayode Oladele, has condemned in strongest terms the dastardly attack on defenceless and innocent people of Oja-Odan, Ogun State by a combined patrol team of the Nigerian Army, Police and Nigeria Customs Service.

The combined patrol team invaded the peaceful town on Saturday, raiding stores and shooting indiscriminately, leading to the killing of one person, while another individual is in critical condition and receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

Many others were also injured.

According to an eyewitness account, the patrol team invaded the town in a Gestapo style and forcefully raided market stalls, carting away hundreds of bags of rice into their waiting vehicles and shooting sporadically in order to deter people from challenging them. 

The witness account said the operatives had a field day carting away goods and merchandise and other valuables as they raided the market place from store to store.

The incident, which has become a recurring decimal in the neighboring border towns of Yewa North and Imeko-Afon local government areas of Ogun State, caused pandemonium as people ran for their lives during the attack.

At the end of the raid, a farmer, Ayo Alao, was fatally wounded and died on the spot, while a mechanic, Monday Akan, received very serious and life threatening injuries from a stray bullet that hit him right inside his workshop.  

Several other traders also received varying degrees of bodily injuries from the attack in addition to forfeiting their properties to the marauding and gun wielding rampaging patrol team. 

In a statement released over the weekend, Oladele described the unprovoked attack as unwarranted, callous and barbaric.

He said: “It is a shame that our security operatives, particularly the Nigeria Customs Service, have continued to use the state machinery to intimidate and unleash terror on the poor and defenceless traders in our border communities.  

“They extort money from innocent civilians, steal their goods and merchandise, sometimes rape the women and in extreme cases as we had it on Saturday, brutalize and kill these traders. 

“It is beyond believe, unacceptable and totally condemnable.”

In the statement, Oladele also called on the Ogun State Government and the Nigeria Customs Service to investigate the Ojo-Odan incident with a view to unraveling the circumstances that led to the fatal raid.  

He said: “The security and welfare of the people is the primary responsibility of government. 

“Sovereignty belongs to the people from whom the security operatives who hold guns under the color of law derive their powers. 

“It is, therefore, unacceptable that the same officers who derive the powers from the people would turn their guns on the same people and use the same state machinery to harass, intimidate and wantonly destroy lives and properties without any legal justification as was demonstrated by the security operatives at Oja-Odan over the weekend.

“A full investigation into this matter by the Ogun State Government and all relevant security agencies whose agents and officers partook in this heinous crime against humanity with a view to identifying and prosecuting all those involved would be the starting point for giving justice to the dead and the wounded; restoring people’s confidence in the ability of the state to protect them and dousing the heightened tension between the local border communities and the security operatives who parade the neighborhoods. 

“This at the minimum, is what we demand.”

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