…It is a lie- Customs PRO***
Some operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service on Wednesday shot a man to death in the Oko-Oba area of Lagos State. The officials had reportedly chased a yellow commercial bus, popularly called Danfo, to the spot and opened fire on it.
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ Public Relations Officer, Jerry Attah has however swiftly debunk the social media report, stressing that even though the officers actually traced the smuggler to Oko-Oba, it was the smuggler’s area of advantage, compelling the officers to withdraw, in a bid to minimize mob reprisals or a loss of life.
Social media report however posited that “the yet-to-be-identified victim was on the bus suspected to be carrying smuggled bags of rice. The officials were said to have fled the scene after shooting the man in the head.
“Angry youths made bonfires on the road in protest but were later dispersed by policemen. The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, confirmed the killing.”
The FOU Ikeja, in its rebuttal on the loss of life, describing it as the reporters figment of imagination, nonetheless warned that though its operatives allowed sleeping dog lie, it would not hesitate to waylay and impound the contraband goods, if ever it was later cited on the road.
“The report is the figment of the reporter’s imagination, which is capable of misleading the general public hence the need to state the true facts as follow:
“On the 17TH of January 2018 (today), at about 0530hrs, Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit acting on a tip-off traced one LT Bus Loaded with unspecified bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice from Sango Area and eventually stopped it at Abule Egba
“Before he was finally halted at Abule Egba, the driver started shouting and making inciting comments that attracted mob action against the officers with different dangerous weapons such as broken bottles, stones and cutlasses. Obviously, he had driven to where he could get his associates to help attack the Customs Officers.
“Given support of the mob, he resisted lawful arrest and the other armed operatives fired shots in the air to disperse the raging mob but to no avail. As a responsible organization, the Officers retracted back to avoid any casualty. We appreciate and thank God that no life was lost as at the time of the confrontation even though two of our Officers sustained injuries.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the fact that a smuggler has evaded scrutiny either by following unapproved route or compromising any Officer does not guarantee that the smuggled item will not be seized anywhere it is found by patrol officers whose duty is to ensure compliance.
“The Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, while lamenting the misleading report urges media practitioners to verify their facts before rushing to the press”, Jerry Attah concluded.
Additional report from Punch