A Badagry monarch, Alapa of Apa, Oba Adekanmi Oyekan, has petitioned the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Alli (rtd) over assault.
Oba Oyekan, in a petition signed by his lawyer, Mr Abdul-Kareem Adio, demanded N10 million compensation for damages and hospital bills of his driver, Awhanto Mark and cousin, Tunji Suraju assaulted by the officials of Joint Border Patrol team.
The monarch also demanded public apology to be published in two national newspapers within seven days, failing which he would sue for assault and breach of public peace.
Oba Oyekan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he had sent his driver and cousin to deliver a message in Farasime community last Wednesday when they were stopped by the joint border patrol team at Sawa check point along Owode-Apa road.
“But on getting to Sawa check point, they were stopped by the joint border patrol team who checked my official car without seeing anything incriminating.
“Instead of allowing them to continue their journey, they ordered them back and stopped them from continuing the journey.
“In spite of the fact that my official Prado jeep plate number was having my chieftaincy name written boldly on it and my driver pleaded that I sent them on errand, they ordered them out of the car.
“They dragged them out of the car and started beating them. They forced them to sit on dirty water and ordered them to roll in the dirty water.
“Along the line, their property, which included phones, wristwatch, bunch of keys and even my car key got damaged.
“It was at this point that some people in the area called to inform me and I sent my chiefs to meet the patrol team,” he said.
The monarch said that he prevented what have been violent confrontation by members f the community with the patrol team.
”My people wanted to go and meet them in confrontation, but I know this will degenerate to breach of peace, so I begged them to allow peace to reign.
“After argument with my chiefs, they released my emisery,” the monarch said.
Alapa said that the Deputy Comptroller of Seme Area Command on Enforcement and Assistant Comptroller in charge of Owode border were aware of the assault.
Oyekan said that his official car, which was earlier seized was later released and brought back to his palace.
The monarch said that he would not hesitate to seek redress in court if the concerned authorities failed to respond to his demands.
Oba Oyekan said that traditional rulers and residents of border communities have suffered untold harassment and intimidation in the hands of the Joint Border Team since it was established in August 2019.
When contacted, Customs Public Relations Officer in Seme, Mr Abdullahi Husseini, told NAN that activities of the Joint Border Team was being coordinated by the Customs headquarters in Abuja.