The Nigeria Customs Service has denied shooting an innocent passerby in violent confrontation with dare devil smugglers in Ebute area of Ogun State, saying the deceased was a member of a smuggling gang.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ogun Command, Abdullah Maiwada, while reacting to the incident, said the operatives were in the area to trail a military truck being smuggled into the country through the area.
Maiwada said “Officers of Nigeria Customs Service Ogun Command on routine patrol based on credible intelligence at about 0830hours trailed a military truck-head smuggled into Nigeria and kept at Ebute Community.
“ In an attempt to secure the said vehicle, some unscrupulous members of the community mobilized themselves by blocking the access road and started pelting our personnel with stones, bottles, cutlasses, sticks and other dangerous items.
“Considering the implication of such truck to national security, our officers resisted and called for reinforcement to cordon the area for the safe evacuation of the truck.
“Unfortunately, during the encounter, one of the hoodlums was shot in pelvic girdle and consequently died.
“Meanwhile, normalcy has since returned with intervention of Police and Military personnel. The truck has been secured at Customs House Abeokuta for further investigation.
“Finally, we wish to commend the patriotic role of our sister Agencies, Traditional leaders, eminent personalities and some host communities who have always partnered with us in our quest to effectively secure our nation”.
It was reported that there was pandemonium, yesterday, in Ebute community on Oja- Odan road, Yewa North local government area of Ogun state, as operatives of Nigeria Customs Service reportedly shot dead a 25-year-old man, identified as Kehinde.
The deceased, a farmer, said to be the son of a retired military officer was allegedly shot dead on his way to farm by men of the Nigerian Customs Service in search of smugglers in the area.
An eye-witness told newsmen that the customs officers stormed the area to arrest some smugglers, who had fled before their arrival, yesterday morning.
He said, “They accused the deceased, who was holding a cutlass and on his way to the farm, of being a smuggler and reportedly shot him to death.”
The customs officers reportedly fled the scene leaving the corpse behind; they returned minutes later with 15 patrol vehicles to carry the corpse but were stopped by some army officers believed to have been contacted by the deceased’s father.
The body was later taken to Ilaro general hospital morgue while the residents of the community demanded justice.