OGUN, Nigeria – The Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Sen. Tolu Odebiyi has debunked the allegations by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS) that he has refused to openly condemn the killings and harassment at the border areas of the State by men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The students’ bodies had on Wednesday accused Odebiyi of being insensitive to the incessant killing of his constituents, allegedly by men of the NCS.
They described the Nigerian lawmaker as being “passive and dormant”.
But, in a swift reaction, Senator Odebiyi described the allegations as “unexpected and unfair”, asking the students to rather join hands with him in fighting the situation head on.
“Certainly, the unpleasant situation that led to the killing of 15-year-old Master Rilwan Bello and Mr. Kehinde Ogunji by the men of the Nigeria Customs is totally condemnable and I commiserate with the families of the deceased,” Odebiyi said.
Speaking about his efforts in curbing the incessant killings, Odebiyi disclosed that having received series of reports in respect of several developments, he swiftly followed up efforts geared towards salvaging the situation.
While expressing concerns over the recurrent rift between the people and the Customs, the Senator said he had, in August 25, 2019, February 22, 2020 and March 14, 2020, in addition to a motion tabled at the plenary, responded by outrightly condemning the actions of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Speaking further, he said, in a statement released on his return from Niamey, Niger Republic on National assignment on March 14, 2020, “I have responded to the chaos in Imasayi by speaking to the Governor, His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR, who was firmly briefed and gave assurances that the situation is under control, as he has gotten commitments from the military and Nigeria Customs officers on ground.”
The Senator said that he has also spoken to “the Eselu of Iselu Kingdom, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, and written an official letter to the state Commissioner of Police and heads of relevant security agencies in the state, in order to find a lasting solution to these unfortunate incidents.”
The Ogun West Senator said he had written letters to the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali and even visited Idiroko, where he met with the community and the State Comptroller of Customs to address the killings and other border issues.
“In furtherance to my extraordinary dedication to continue to protect the interest of my people, I assure that further proactive and legislative interventions will be employed to stem the bad situation after the COVID-19 lockdown,” he said.
Odebiyi said he would like all stakeholders, including the students’ bodies to “understand that we all need to join hands and ensure that our homes, schools and communities are safe for all.”