One person reportedly died on Sunday when operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command, and suspected smugglers clashed at Ajilete village in Ipokia Local Government of the state.
The Customs operatives were said to have got intelligence report that some suspected smugglers had smuggled no fewer than three tokunbo vehicles into the village through the Idiroko land border from the neighbouring Republic of Benin.
The operatives later stormed the village in search of the smugglers and they succeeded in impounding one of the alleged smuggled vehicles, a Toyota Tundra pickup.
But our correspondent gathered that some hoodlums suspected to be smugglers were said to have barricaded the roads leading to village with various objects, to prevent the Customs operatives from taking the impounded vehicle away from the village.
This action was said to have triggered sporadic shooting into the air by the operatives to scare the alleged hoodlums away, and to secure their own lives.
It was in this melee, that a stray bullet reportedly hit the male victim, whose identity was not yet ascertained at the time of filing this report, and he died instantly.
The victim was said to have gone to a tailor’s shop to collect his cloth and was on his way to his house when the stray bullet hit him.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, NCS, Ogun Area Command, Abdullahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident.
He told our correspondent on the telephone that the command got an intelligence report on Sunday that some suspected smugglers had smuggled three vehicles into Ajilete village.
He said further, “Our operatives later went into the village and at the end of the operation, they succeeded in impounding one of the vehicles, a Toyota Tundra pick up van.
“It was when our operatives wanted to move the impounded vehicle to our Idiroko office that some hoodlums barricaded the roads with various objects.
“Since our operatives did not want to shoot anyone, they started shooting sporadically into air to scare away the hoodlums, and to secure their own lives. Eventually, our operatives succeeded in taking the impounded vehicle away.
“We later got the information that someone was hit by a stray bullet and he died instantly in the village. The person was not even among the hoodlums who blocked the road. It is a very sad development.”
When asked who fired the bullet that killed the innocent person, Maiwada said he could not say emphatically from where the bullet came from, because “in our command, we value human life and we will not deliberately do anything to take human life. It is a very sad incident.”
But a resident who pleaded anonymity disagreed with Maiwada, arguing that the Customs operatives fired the shot that killed the male victim.
Our correspondent gathered that after the incident, Customs operatives were said to have deserted their checkpoints from Ajilete to Oke Odan, for fear of attack from enraged residents.