Emir of llesha Baruba in Kwara State reportedly escaped death by the whisker as subjects and suspected organized smugglers attempted to attack him while brokering peace between the rampaging youths and operatives of the Sector 3 Check Point, last Friday.33
Three of the smugglers reportedly died during further confrontation at the Sector 3 Operational Base of the Joint Border Operations Drill at llesha Baruba, Baruten local government area, while a policeman attached to the Sector led by the Nigeria Customs Service and jointly operated with military personnel and other security agencies including Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Immigration and the Nigerian Police.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Kwara Command, Chado Zakari, on behalf of the Coordinator Joint Border Operations Drill Sector 3, Ilorin Kwara State, made available to our reporter said trouble started when the driver of a Volkswagen car refused to stop upob been flagged down by officers of the border drill. This led the operatives to chase after the driver, who reportedly abandoned the vehicle, which was subsequently taken away by the border drill operatives.
According to the statement, the driver morbilized youths from the surrounding communities of llesha Baruba and together stormed Sector 3 of the Border Drill; leading to confrontation with operatives, first to force the release of the arrested vehicle and its contraband items, until the fracas degenerated.
The statement reads: “On 8 January 2021 at about 800hrs, Sector 3 security operatives at Ilesha Baruba while conducting stop and search at a checkpoint along Saki – Ilesha Baruba axis, flagged down a Volkswagen Golf Vehicle with Registration No BDG 453 BH. However, the driver refused to stop hence the operatives pursued the vehicle which was successfully apprehended and moved back to the checkpoint for examination, wherein Bags of foreign parboiled rice were found loaded in the vehicle.
“During the pursuit, the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene. After a short period, the driver mobilized a large mob of organised smugglers and errant youths armed with sticks, stones and locally made weapons attacked the operatives and overran the checkpoint. The operatives pulled back from the checkpoint with the seized Volkswagen Golf vehicle. The mob then set the checkpoint and all operational items and properties of the operatives at the checkpoint ablaze.
“During the attack, a personnel of the NPF sustained degree of injuries and was evacuated for medical attention. The Team Leaders in llesha Baruba immediately notified the Emir of Ilesha Baruba, the DPO and other resident operatives who attempted to contain the mob all to no avail.
“Reports indicate that the mob attempted to lynch the Emir, who had to be evacuated from the scene. After destroying the first checkpoint, the mob gathered more support in large numbers mostly from organised smugglers from other locations and mobilized to attack and destroy other operational checkpoints in the area. A section of the mob also proceeded on foot and in vehicles to the major Operational Base in Ilesha Baruba where arms and ammunition, vehicles, seizures and other operational items are kept.
“On this note, the operatives mobilized to deter the attack and protect the Operational Base. Therefore, the operatives had to fire warning shots to deter further attacks to overrun the base. At the time of the incident, information received from the Sector 3 Team Leaders on the ground at llesha Baruba indicate that 3 persons from the mob were killed during the attack, reportedly when their vehicle somersaulted when fired upon as they attempted to overrun the checkpoint.”
The statement added that Sector HQ also immediately mobilized reinforcement from Okuta, Alapa, Ilorin and Nigerian Army 244 Recce Battalion in Saki to ensure that the Operational Base is held and operatives are protected. The situation was eventually brought under control at about 0400 hours as a result of the reinforcement and subsequent show of force.
“The corpses of the 3 casualties from the mob were taken by the DPO under escort of own operatives and deposited at Baptist Hospital Saki in line with directives from the resident NPF Area Commander.”
Sequel to the tensed atmosphere, the statement added that on the following day, the operatives held a meeting with the Emir, traditional heads, resident security agencies, youth leaders and other stakeholders to work out modalities to identify the perpetrators, prevent recurrence, and ensure that law and order is maintained and normalcy restored.
According to the statement, “The Emir also appealed to the operatives and all other stakeholders to exercise restraint while he called for calm by the populace for an amicable work environment to foster.”
Coordinator Joint Border Operations Drill Sector 3 Compt. Olugboyega Peters was quoted as having called on parents, guardians, community and religious leaders, including opinion-molders to caution their wards on the dangers of “towing the path of extreme illegality and anarchy.”
Peters also said, “The Sector will do everything humanly possible within the ambit of the law to protect government properties and ensure that peace prevail against all odds. It is important to reiterate that operatives are only implementer of Federal Government Policies in the overall interest of national growth and development.
“Finally, the hostility by hoodlums and their accomplices will never be a distraction in discharging our statutory responsibilities.”