Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on surveillance patrol have shot a middle-aged unemployed man, Toheeb Olayiwola dead on the Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway at Abule-Egba area of Lagos on Wednesday.
The Renaissance gathered that the incident happened at about 6.30 a.m. when the customs men were pursuing a commercial bus with the registration number LND-685-XJ.
The bus loaded with 30 bags of rice, suspected to have been smuggled from Idi-Iroko border with the Republic of Benin was heading to Mushin in Lagos State when the incident occurred.
It was gathered that late Olayiwola, in search of daily bread, had been hired to accompany the bus to Mushin help offload the rice at Mushin when the bus ran into the customs men on patrol.
The Renaissance reporter, who was at the scene of the incident, observed that angry youths and friends of the victims were seen wailing and protesting the unfortunate incident.
They described the killing as wicked and gruesome.
Mr Ahmed Ogundairo, a friend to the victim, said late Olayiwola was in the bus, heading to Mushin from Sango in Ogun when the customs officials opened fire on him.
Ogundairo said that when the bus got to Abule-Egba area, the customs accosted the bus and started shooting sporadically, which led to the victim’s death.
According to him, there was no prior confrontation between the customs officials and the victims before he was shot.
“The commercial bus, which was loaded with thirty bags of rice, was en-route Mushin from Sango when the customs stopped the bus and started shooting.
“My friend was just inside the bus to assist in offloading the rice but he was shot dead when he tried to escape from the scene.
“The bus was hired to deliver the rice to Mushin,’’ he said.
Another eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our reporter that the customs officers were misusing their rifle on innocent citizens.
He said that victim was not a smuggler but a transporter with a commercial bus.
A Police official from Oke-Odo division, who was at the scene of the accident, said that no official statement can be given until the arrival of the area commander and Divisional Police Officer.
“The Police is here to maintain peace and forestall further crises and await the arrival of the DPO and Area Commander,’’ the officer who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to comment, said.
He, however, said the incident occurred at about 6.30 a.m.
As at the time of filing the report, there was no Customs official at the scene to give an account of the incident.
But officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) were at the scene diverting vehicular traffic.
Angry youths were seen protesting and setting bonfire under the bridge.
The Public Relations Officer of NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, Mr Jerry Attah, said the unit had received the report of the incident from its patrol team.
Attah said that the team trailed a vehicle loaded with smuggled rice to Abule-Egba, a suburb of Lagos.
He said the customs officers were mobbed by the smugglers, who prevented them from carrying out their duties.
By Our Correspondent