Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), today, shot and killed a young man at about 08:00am in Abule-Egba area of Lagos State. The boy, identified to be Toheeb Olayiwola, boarded a public bus to convey him to his place of work but was hit on his head when customs officers fired shots at the bus he boarded.
Our correspondent who visited the scene gathered that a commercial bus conveying passengers and food items was stopped by two customs patrol van.
Narrating the incidence, one of the passengers said they were shocked when they were stopped and customs official immediately opened fire on them.
“We noticed custom vans were following us and the driver stopped. When we stopped, our driver got down to meet them while the passengers were in the bus. Immediately about six of them came down of the van, rounded our bus while we are still in it and they started shooting.” He recounted the terrible ordeal.
The driver of the commercial bus, Yinka Ajayi who spoke to SRTV disclosed that the rice he was carrying belonged to a trader who bought them at Sango market and was taking it to Agege Market to sell. He added that the customs van has ‘Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja Patrol Van’ written on it.
“I am a bus driver and I go through Agege to Sango every day. On each trip, I carry people and sometimes traders that buy food materials at Sango market like today. This morning, I was carrying 10 bags of rice and 5 passengers when I noticed that customs were following me. I stopped at Abule Egba and one of the two customs vans came to block me at the front while the other stayed at the back. I was asked what I have in the bus I told them it is a passenger’s rice which was bought at Sango Market.”
He continued, “As I was still talking to them, some of the custom officers came down and started shooting at my bus with passengers inside the bus. Three people were hit, one of them was hit at the head and he died immediately and others that got wounded have been taken to the hospital. I was also beaten and hit with the butt of a gun. The patrol van has Ikeja Patrol van written on the it. One of the customs officers was identified to be Fola while another officer is Tunde.
Baffled as to why he was stopped, the bus driver questioned why Customs would be operating within the local communities. “I am not coming from Seme border, the rice was bought at Sango market, so why should customs be stopping us?” He asked.
Saheed Olayemi, another bus passenger whowas injured in the shootout said the Customs officers fled the scene after discovering that someone had been killed in the bus.
“We were going from Sango to Agege when the customs stopped us. They just started shooting us immediately without allowing us to come down of the bus. I sustained a wound on my neck in the process of running from being hit by a bullet. The customs ran away when they noticed that one of us has been shot in the head and died and passers-by are coming to the scene.” He said.
Muyideen Olayiwola, brother of the deceased who was also at the scene of the incident disclosed that his wife just gave birth.
“I received a call that my brother has been killed by customs, I was shocked because he still spoke to me this morning. His wife just delivered a baby on Saturday and it is unfortunate that this is happening today.”
Confirming the incident, Commander of Rapid Response Squad, ACP Tunji Disu stated he deployed his men to the scene immediately to restore law and order in the area. He acknowledged that the boy was killed while others were injured but couldn’t ascertain if those involved are men of the Nigeria Customs. He added that the Commissioner of Police would swing into action on the matter.
Similarly, Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti said the Police are on the situation and would get a report of what happened in the area. He, however, established that the boy was shot and killed by officers of the Nigeria customs.
The Police PRO said, “I confirmed there was an incident between the customs and some people in a commercial bus alleged to be smugglers. Police have taken over the situation and our men have been sent there to maintain law and order. He added that investigations into the matter would commence immediately.”
The body of Toheeb Olayiwola has been taken to the morgue at Ikeja General Hospital.