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Customs, Smugglers Clash In Agbara; Residents Flee Morogbo Town

Posted by The PM News on 2008/11/19 | Views: 2052 |

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Customs, Smugglers Clash In Agbara; Residents Flee Morogbo Town

Morogboland, a tiny community in the vicinity of Agbara, along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, Lagos, has changed.

Morogboland, a tiny community in the vicinity of Agbara, along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, Lagos, has changed. Today, it is almost a ghost town. Residents have fled while the few remaining live in fear. These days, the sound of a vehicle back-firing is enough to send residents scampering for safety.

The situation in Morogbo was occasioned by a clash between two very good friends; Smugglers and the people employed to check their activities, the Nigerian Customs Service. Both had clashed, and in the end an officer of the law lay dead. In a swift move, sixty-one people were arrested. They were said to be connected in one way or the other with the death of the Customs officer.

Chief H.T. Ajayi, the traditional ruler of the community, has been pleading with the authorities to release the detainees as they were residents of his community. At the weekend, Ajayi again called for the release of the 61 people arrested in Agbara.

The people were arrested by a combined team of operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service and the Rapid Response Squad, in connection with the bloody clash between Customs men and smugglers, on the Seme border route, on 14 October.

During the clash, the smugglers were alleged to have engaged Customs men in a fierce gun battle, during which a Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Abubakar, was shot dead by the smugglers. He died instantly while others suffered injuries.

Mid-Week-Crime-Watch gathered further that trouble started when men of the Customs Service seized the contraband the smugglers were conveying, even after the smugglers had pleaded for settlement as usual.

Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service were said to have refused to be settled this time and a struggle ensued. Morogbo, a tiny settlement opposite Agbara, unluckily became the battle field as the Customs men and the smugglers locked horns over the seizure of the contraband.

Last year, according to eyewitnesses, on 3 July, a 29-year-old father of two, identified as Mr. Ope, was allegedly mistakenly shot by the Customs men at Morogbo. The deceased was said to have been in possession of half a bag of rice, which he bought at Ijanikin market. Two weeks later, the Customs men, having realised that he was killed in error, bought a motorcycle to appease his family.

When MWCW visited the divisional police station, Agbara, a senior police officer confirmed Ope’s bestial killing but said no more. Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Mr. Shina Ogunyan, has filed a exparte motion at the Magistrate Court, Badagry, for leave of enforcement of the right of the 61 suspects arrested by the security operatives.

A traditional ruler, Oba Gbadebo Isaac Ayinla Ogunbiaka, the Alagbara of Agbara, Ogun state, speaking on the situation, pleaded that the state should please intervene, considering the fact that Agbara is an industrial centre hosting international companies. The suspects are still being remanded at the Ikoyi prisons.

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