Contrary to earlier reports citing unknown gunmen as being behind Friday night attack on Ibarapa communities which left about three persons dead, pieces of evidence found at the scene of the attack suggested otherwise.
Political and traditional leaders of Ibarapa had, on Saturday, pointed accusing fingers at men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), describing the evening raid on the Igbo Ora and other communities as unnecessary.
The GOC of the military formation in Oyo State has sanctioned an investigation into the matter.
The leaders, including the Olu of Igbo Ora, Oba Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, and the Chairman of Ibarapa North Local Government, Hon. Adeoye Adedoyin, spoke at a meeting held in Igbo Ora with a fact-finding team of the Oyo State Government, led by the Executive Assistant on Security Matters to Governor Seyi Makinde, CP Sunday Odukoya (rtd).
The leaders said that it was regrettable that the Customs Service troubled the peace of the area when its men stormed Ibarapaland, shooting sporadically.
The Olu of Igbo Ora, said that the Customs’ raid left Igbo Ora and other adjoining towns in disarray following the raid that left three persons, including an Amotekun operative dead.
“The raid left so much turmoil in our communities as the Customs men came, shooting sporadically. Many of our people ran helter-skelter.
“We want it stated loud and clear that our communities, Igbo Ora, Igangan and Ayete are not border towns. Why should Customs turn the communities into theatres of bloodshed and war?
“We want Customs to regulate their operations. It will be better if the authorities restrict them to border towns to end unwarranted attacks on innocent communities,” the Olu of Igbo Ora said.
Chairman of Ibarapa North Local Government, Hon. Adedoyin, at the meeting said, “We have received the cooperation of state and non-state actors in our efforts aimed at boosting security. The hunters, Amotekun and other security agencies have been cooperating fully, but we were shocked to hear reports of sporadic gunshots and commotion that ensued after a raid by men of Customs Service.
“That raid is regrettable because it threatened the peace of our area”.
Odukoya, the Executive Assistant to Governor Makinde, in his address, called for vigilance and calm among the people.
He pointed out that the community policing and integrated policing initiative of the administration has been effective.
Odukoya said the police in the area have confirmed the death of one Amotekun operative and two other persons following the said raid.
The team, which later visited Igangan, Ayete, Tapa, locations in Igbo Ora, was accompanied by traditional rulers and community leaders from across Ibarapa land.
In his reaction, the spokesman of the Zone A of Customs, Theophilus Duniya, said his men encountered some rice smugglers in Igbo-Ora who engaged them in a gun battle.
“The injured officers on Friday sighted eight trucks carrying smuggled foreign parboiled rice. When trying to stop the trucks, the passengers who accompanied the trucks fully armed, launched an attack on the officers.
“One of the attackers was shot and disarmed while the others retreated with their smuggled wares.
“While investigations are ongoing to arrest and prosecute the attackers, all the attacked Customs Officers and soldier, including one that was shot in the head, are receiving treatment.
“Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, condemns the attack and reiterates the uncompromising resolve of the Service to suppress smuggling.
“The Unit, according to the Acting Controller, will never relent or be intimidated by this unwarranted attacks by criminal elements unlawfully bearing arms and unleashing same on officers on legitimate duties.”