Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
Ogun Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service on Monday cleared the air on the death of Idowu Moses, who was reportedly killed by a stray bullet fired by some of its officers on Saturday.
Moses, a panel beater, was reported to have been hit by stray bullet in the head at Oja Odan, Yewa North local government area of Ogun State; and eventually died on Sunday.
The Nigeria Customs Service, however, in a statement on Monday, through its Spokesperson, Hammed Oloyede, said 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.
He explained further that “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 the shot which could have led to the death of the victim, given that the hoodlums are untrained in the handling of such weapons”.
“Consequently, a suspect in connection to the mayhem that led to the ugly incident was arrested at the scene and had been detained for further investigation”.
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, pledging that the outcome shall be made public.”