Customs meets Ajelete community leaders to end clashes
On May 17, 2012 · In Business

TOP officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have been meeting with community leaders at Ajilete, a border town in Ogun State, to find lasting solutions to incessant clashes between Customs personnel on the one hand and suspected smugglers and their supporters on the other.

It was gathered that Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Victor Osita Gbemudu, accompanied by Customs Area Controller (CAC), Ogun State Customs Command, Deputy Comptroller Bamidele Akande, and Controller in charge of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Dan Ugo, met with the traditional ruler of Oloke Odan of Oke Odan last Thursday.

Speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Akande said the forum had been more-or-less a town hall meeting between the Customs and the community, adding that a consensus was reached to hold further meetings to put a final end to the incessant crises.

He said both parties have agreed to work peacefully from now onward after the most recent clash, adding: “The consensus is to make peace and there should be regard for human lives. We have been having such meetings in the past until the unfortunate incident that led to the death of one of their own.

But now we have both pledged to continue to hold such meetings. It is a step forward toward having a peaceful relationship within the communities where we operate and for us to do more on the enlightenment campaign.” The CAC, however, noted that they have not put a final rest to the matter, as, according to him, some suspected smugglers are insisting that the Customs dismantles its checkpoint at Ajelete.

Akande averred that the Customs cannot dismantle its checkpoint at Ajelete, noting that it was an approved border post of the Federal Government.

He said: “Some of the diehard smugglers are working against Customs maintaining a checkpoint around their community, but there is nothing they can do about it, because it is a government approved route. We only want a peaceful relationship with the community that is why we have not come back. But, because it is a government’s approved border, we may have to return there as soon as possible. But we believe dialogue is the way forward.”

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