Parents of 15-year-old Sekina shot dead by men of the Nigeria Customs Service at Agosasa, in the lpokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, appeared dejected and hopeless.
They however said they had accepted their fate by leaving all to God as they had no power to deal with their child’s killers.
The father of the slain girl, Nofiu Agbelade, while sharing his pain over the loss of his daughter, said, “God is the best judge. If they give me money, can that replace my child? Money cannot quantify my loss. If I did not have money and still see my daughter, I will be happy and have hope. But they have taken her away from me. I leave them to God.”
Also, the bereaved mother, Risikat, said, “Can money bring back my daughter? Can money bring back Sekina? “
Tragedy struck when stray bullets allegedly fired by some men of the NCS, Ogun State command 1, chasing rice smugglers, hit the girl.
Like a dream, sorrow crept into the family of eight living in Agosasa area of Ipokia council.
None of the family members including the victim of stray bullets knew that evil lurked around the day.
Akelicious gathered that Sekinah lived with a paternal aunt staying at Agosasa since she was four years.
She assisted her aunt to sell bags and wallets whenever she returned from school and during weekends. The NCS men reportedly shot dead the girl while they were pursuing rice smugglers.
Few days after the incident, parents of the deceased told our correspondent that they had lost appetite since their child was killed.
The 45-year-old father while narrating how it happened said his child was killed unjustly by reckless uniformed men. The man said few days before the incident, his child demanded some money for her school uniform which he promised to give her. He said Sekinah was the third child of his six children from two wives of 20 and 18 years of marriage respectively.
Explaining how he got the information about the death of his child, he said, “I was eating in a place when my elder brother called me to go to the clinic in Agosasa.
“My brother did not tell me what happened until I got there. When I entered the clinic, I saw my child in a pool of her blood. She was in a serious pain. As she sighted me, she shouted, ‘my dad I am in pain.’
“She asked me to carry her and I did. She said she wanted to drink water and I tried to give her.”
Nofiu said his daughter was preparing to take the Junior Secondary School examination of the West African Examination Council when she was killed.
He said he couldn’t withstand the pain his daughter was going through when he saw her at the clinic.
The father said he took her to a traditional centre where three bullets were removed from her body and later returned her to the clinic for further treatment.
He added, “The doctor at the clinic requested N300, 000 before he could operate on her. He said he would have to operate on her to remove the bullets.
“We took her away to a traditional centre where the bullets were removed. Three bullets were removed from her laps. The person that removed the bullet from her body collected N10, 000.
“It was after the bullets were removed that we returned her back to the hospital but the doctor said he would not treat her.
“We begged him to treat her but he refused until my daughter died. When the doctor discovered that she had died, he asked us to pay N50, 000 before he could do anything but we ignored him.”
He added that he had accepted his fate even regarding the doctor who refused treating his daughter.
Nofiu said, “There is nothing we can do. We have to put everything in God’s hands.’’
On the state of his second wife who is the mother of the deceased, Nofiu said his wife was not only depressed but had refused to eat since the incident happened.
Assessing operation of the NCS in the area, the bereaved father stated that the customs men had always wreaked havoc on the town.
He said, “What happened to my daughter has been happening for long. This is not the first time. Nothing has been done on it despite our outcry.
“I am not a rice smuggler. I don’t have any contraband that could have caused the custom men to kill my daughter. They have become terrorists in our community. “
The mother of the slain girl who wept profusely as our correspondent spoke to her said she was content with her plywood selling and garri-making trade.
The 32-year-old Risikat said her daughter had been with her husband’s sister in Agosasa since she was four years old.
She said Sekina was hawking when the customs officers stormed the town and began to shoot sporadically around where she was.
She stated, “The bullets hit my daughter and those that were trying to save her were also shot. I learnt that one of the customs officers went to meet my daughter where she lay after she was shot and said, ‘fine girl, you are the one that was mistakenly hit. We are sorry.’ They did not help her. They just abandoned her there. It was after they left that some people assisted her and took her to the hospital.
“It was after they took her to the hospital that the people called to inform us of what happened. When I heard the news, I immediately came to Agosasa. I went to the hospital where she was. I was crying because I am not neither a smuggler nor a criminal, Why would they shoot my daughter dead? I toiled to take care of my children.
“We later took her away from the clinic to where she was operated on and the bullets were removed. Three bullets were shot at my daughter. When I saw her at the hospital, she was crying that she was in pains and before I know what was happening she had begun to gasp and later died. Her corpse was later brought home and buried.’’
She also noted that those who didn’t commit any offence in the area were being punished unjustly through the recklessness of the customs men.
Describing her daughter, she said, “My daughter was about taking the junior WAEC but was killed at her prime. My daughter is brilliant. She always took the first position. In fact, she loved running and playing football.
“Nobody could take the first position from her whenever there was a race. She participated in competitions in Ilaro and came home with trophies.
“She was a cool-headed girl. Since she started living with her father’s sister, she was never for once reported for any misdeeds. The person she lived with couldn’t eat since the incident happened. I also couldn’t eat anything in the past four days. I was just crying.
“The last time I saw my daughter before the incident was the day they did Yoruba Day in school few weeks ago. She told me she needed money and I gave her N500. But it’s sad that it was my daughter’s remains I saw some days ago.”
On what the family wanted the government to do, the mother, said, “They should ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. They should ensure justice is done on the killing of my daughter.
“I want to see the person that killed my daughter. I want us to have a one-on-one discussion.’’