The students also demanded the immediate redeployment of the Controller, Ogun 1 Area Command of NCS, Peter Chad Kolo, whom they accused of “gross ineptitude, absolute incompetence and visible indifference to securing the borders of Ogun State.”
The students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ogun State chapter; the National Association of University Students (NAUS) and the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS), said the Ogun 1 Area Command of the NCS was becoming a toothless bulldog when it comes to fighting smuggling activities in the state.
At a press conference jointly addressed by the Chairman of NANS in Ogun, Damilola Simeon Kehinde; National President of NAOSS, Ogunrombi Gbemileke and the National Vice President of NAUS, Adebowale Abdul-Ghaffar Adeniran, the students alleged that the upsurge in smuggling activities and the influx of illegal firearms into Nigeria had further worsened insecurity in the country.
“There has been a severe and steady decline in service delivery of Nigerian Customs Service, thereby breaking the trust and mutual relationship between the agency and Ogun State citizens.
“Beyond smuggling of contraband products, they now take advantage of the Nigeria Customs Service’s nonchalant attitude to sneak in arms and ammunitions.
“The relaxed attitude of the Nigeria Customs Service is slowly turning Ogun State to hotbed for gun-running, thereby jeopardizing the security of the citizens.
“More than ever, the circulation of unregistered and unlicensed guns on the street has massively increased. If this trend continues, we may start experiencing gunfights with heavy casualties across our campuses,” the students said.
Speaking further, the student leaders urged the NCS to work in synergy with other sister security agencies to nip the problem in the bud.
“This steady decline has exposed students and the general public to grave danger by the unabated actions of smugglers in the state,” the students said.
The students called for the redeployment of Peter Kolo before August 31, 2021, failure of which will lead to street protests.
“By August 31st 2021, the entire Students Constituency of Ogun State will not hesitate to stage a massive protest if Comptroller Peter Chad Kolo remains in charge of Ogun 1 Area,” they threatened.
Reacting, the Spokesman of the command, Hammer Oloyede, said the achievements of the NCS in Ogun under the watch of Kolo negated every allegation made by the students’ bodies.
“I don’t know where they got their fact or statistics from. As patriotic citizens, when you observe some certain things, you state the efforts you are making to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum.
“If someone is doing everything to combat smuggling and someone somewhere is making allegations that could be regarded as baseless … It is uncalled for, it is unfounded. Are they blind to the good works we have been doing? It is disheartening. It is uncalled for. They should not forget the nature of our borders, yet we are still policing it. They don’t know what they’re talking about.
“They should just cooperate with us. If they have information, they should release it; if they have intelligence, they should tell us,” the NCS spokesman said.