The Ogun State Command of the Nigerian Customs Service has reacted to the death of Idowu Moses, who was reportedly killed by a stray bullet fired by some of its officers on Saturday.
DAILY POST reports that Moses, a panel beater, was hit by the bullet in his head at Oja Odan, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State; he eventually died on Sunday.
Residents of Oja Odan have blamed the men of the Nigerian Customs Service for the ugly incident, accusing them of shooting sporadically for no just cause.
Reacting in a statement on Monday, the NCS, through its Spokesperson, Hammed Oloyede, told DAILY POST that its men from Zone B, Ogun I Command, intercepted 18 bags of foreign rice from some suspected smugglers along Oja-odan, Egua axis.
He said the officers also seized a motorcycle left behind by one of the suspected smugglers, who absconded after sighting its officers.
Oloyede stated that the said rice and the motorcycle were evacuated inside the official patrol van and the team left the spot of the arrest.
“On their way out, our Officers were ambushed and attacked by a mob, armed with dangerous weapons including dane guns, bottles, stones and charms, which were used to launch a vicious attack on our Officers and Men.
“One Officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs II, AK USMAN was abducted along with his rifle by the hoodlums. The team immediately called for reinforcements of both Customs and other security agencies for assistance in restoring law and order.
“The reinforcements were timely as the Police contingent were able to rescue the abducted officer in a bush path. Upon his rescue by the Police, the abducted officer was found to have been beaten to stupor. The magazine of his rifle loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition was found empty of the ammunition and was damaged.
“This is an indication that the hoodlums fired his rifle which could have led to the death of the victim, given that the hoodlums are untrained in the handling of such weapons,” the statement read.
While expressing regrets over Moses’ death, Oloyede insisted that the victim must have been shot by the suspected hoodlums.
He said, “Nigeria Customs Service noted with regret the death of one Mr Idowu Moses said to have been hit by a stray bullet suspected to have been fired by one of the hoodlums using the firearm of the abducted officer. This explains why the rifle was returned without a single ammunition.”
He added that “investigation is ongoing and the outcome shall be made public.”
DAILY POST reports that cases of extrajudicial killings involving the NCS have become a source of worry to residents of border communities in the Yewa axis of Ogun State.