Why we are interrogating officers over Ijebu Ode shooting-Customs
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigeria Customs Service has said that its desire to get to the root of the matter with a view to forestalling future occurrences informed the decision to commence a holistic probe of the unfortunate incident between some operatives of the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Lagos of the service at the Shagamu Inter-change area of Ijebu Ode, which led to the death of one person.
National Public Relations Officer of the service, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, who made this disclosure in Abuja Tuesday, said that the interrogation had become necessary and urgent to determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
The PRO, who spoke via a statement, said the probe will also investigate the use of firearms, especially with a view to revealing whether proper or better handling of weapon would have averted the incident.
“The officers involved are being interrogated; we are looking at it holistically, including weapon handling skills. “If the officers are found guilty, they will be punished appropriately, we will allow the investigation to take place first.
“But we still stand our ground that it is not a passenger of the bus that was deliberately shot dead but the victim was hit by the accidental discharge. “An audio recording of the incident from one of the passengers of the bus is now trending from one of the passengers of the bus that the person that died is not one of them.
“We insist that the person that died was not a passenger but a Good Samaritan who used to assist the officers, we described him as a friend of Customs,’’ the statement further explained.
Recall that news broke on Monday that operatives of the FOU, the anti-smuggling unit of the service shot and killed a man travelling from Lagos to Benin for allegedly refusing to offer N5, 000 bribe along the Ijebu –Ode end of Shagamu-Benin Road.
DC Attah in a swift reaction noted that while it is painful and totally unnecessary to loose life in anti-smuggling operations, there was an attempt to obstruct lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus (a white Toyota Hiace) suspected to be carrying bales of used clothing, which led to the death of a young man (Godwin) and serious injury of a Customs Officer, ASC1, Destiny Onebamho.
According to him, contrary to some narratives, the deceased was not a passenger of the bus but a good citizen who always comes to fetch water for Customs Patrol men anytime they return to the base.
He had also said that preliminary investigations show that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the officer that the riffle discharged and hit the friend of the Customs identified as Godwin who lost his life, adding that the service was already in touch with the family of the deceased while the injured officer was taken to the intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital.