officer has killed a civilian, Godwin Onoja, while allegedly trying to extort
N5,000 bribe from travellers coming from Europe on the Sagamu end of the
gathered that the victim was shot during an altercation between the officers of
the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja, Lagos, and
some travellers, who boarded an Iyare Motors’ passenger bus travelling to Benin
City from Lagos on Sunday.
One of the
passengers, Mr Oliver Joseph, who lives in France, said he and the other
passengers in the bus arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport,
Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday evening.
him, whenever he and his co-travellers get into Nigeria, they usually
contract Iyare Motors to convey them to Benin from the Lagos airport.
He added that
they booked the vehicle when they got to Nigeria, adding that the driver came
to the airport on sunday morning as arranged to convey them to Benin.
that when they got to the Sagamu intersection of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway,
some Customs officials asked the driver to stop.
“The driver stopped and asked them what the matter was. The driver told them
that the bus belonged to Iyare Motors and it was pointless to ask him to stop.
Immediately the driver parked, one of the officers came and asked who owned the
luggage. The driver told him that the luggage belonged to the passengers. The
customs officer asked us where we were coming from and we told him that we were
coming from overseas and that we were here on a visit.
“He said he
had interest in the luggage and needed to check them one by one. We told him
that they had been checked at the airport. He replied that he must carry out
his job and ordered us to alight from the bus. One of them then called the
driver and asked him to give them N5,000 for them to allow us to go. We heard
the driver saying that he did not have the money and that we did not have
anything illegal. The driver then told us that the Customs officers demanded
N5,000 from us.
agreed that our luggage be searched and one of us insisted that he would record
it so that they won’t place contraband in our bags. So, the guy brought out his
iPhone 6, but one of the officers demanded to have the phone but the passenger
refused, saying that the price of the phone could pay his salary.
just took some steps back, cocked his gun and fired. Immediately he fired, a man
fell down. Before we knew it, one of the two Customs officers in green sweater
ran into the bush, leaving the others. We were 10 passengers in the bus and
when we took a headcount, we were complete. There was blood all over the
victim’s face, so we could not recognise him.
tried to run away, but we held him by the uniform insisting that he had to
follow us to the nearest police station.”
The manager of
Iyare Motors, Benin City, Mr Aghimien Osahon, thanked God that none of the
passengers lost their lives in the process.
that the Customs officers were angered by the driver’s refusal to give them
N5,000, adding that he did not know why they behaved the way they did.
“It was one of
their men that they mistakenly shot dead and not any of our passengers. The
officer, who fired the gun, wanted to shoot one of the passengers; as he cocked
the gun, he opened fire on one of his men in mufti. We give God the glory,”
Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, described the incident as quite
unfortunate, adding that the victim was not one of the passengers, but a friend
to the Customs men.
He said that
the victim was from the neighbourhood and used to supply water to the Customs
base on the road, adding that he happened to come around when there was an
altercation between the passengers of the bus and the operatives.
him, the incident happened when the Customs operatives flagged down a passenger
bus, adding that instead of the driver and the passengers to allow the
operatives to conduct a routine check on the vehicle, they were cursing and
calling them thieves.
He said in a
statement that it was in the process of filming the Customs personnel at work
by the passengers and also struggling to disarm an officer that a rifle carried
by one of the operatives accidentally discharged and the bullet hit the man.
read in part, “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a
disturbing video going viral with conflicting narratives.
“While it is
painful and totally unnecessary to lose a life in anti-smuggling operations,
today at the Sagamu interchange along Ijebu Ode, an attempt to obstruct the
lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus suspected to be
carrying bales of used clothing led to the death of a young man, Godwin, and
serious injuries to a Customs officer, Destiny Onebamho.
some narratives, the young man was not a passenger of the bus but a good
citizen, who always come to fetch water for the Customs patrol men anytime they
return to the base.
findings indicate that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the
officer that the riffle discharged and the bullet hit the friend of the
Customs, who lost his life.”
He said the
service had already contacted the bereaved family, adding that the Customs
personnel had been recalled to the office for further investigation.
added, “It should be noted that while attention shifted to the dead and the
wounded, the passengers, who filmed with inciting commentaries boarded their
vehicle and left, leaving the wrong impression that it was one of them that was
wounded officer is in intensive care at the hospital, the patrol team has been
recalled to the office for further investigation.”
When the Ogun
State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, was contacted, he said
operatives of the command were able to rescue the Customs officer from being
lynched by the angry mob, adding that the case would be transferred to the
State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta.
“After the incident, a distress call was sent to the Divisional Police Officer
of the Sagamu Police Station, who moved in with his men. When they got to the
scene of the incident, they met the body of the deceased and the angry mob
attacking a Customs officer. The police were able to rescue him and he has been
taken to the hospital.
vehicle has been taken to the police station and the case will be transferred
to the SCIID on the order of the Commissioner of Police for investigation.”