A Customs officer has shot and killed a motorist, injuring two others at the Seme Border area of Lagos State.
The deceased identified as Friday Poku, and three other persons, were said to have been crossing the border in his red Volkswagen Jetta saloon car with registration number GGE 81 AH, when the incident occurred.
It was learnt that the Customs officer’s act infuriated the youths in the area who stormed the streets and made bonfire in the middle of the road, preventing other road users access to the border.
Customs officers posted at other border posts were said to have taken to their heels for fear of being lynched, immediately they heard the youths were out on the streets.
The deceased, according to eyewitnesses, was allegedly flagged down by the officers at one of the illegal check points at Gbetrome area of the border. When the deceased was stopped, he got down and engaged the officers in dialogue. The officer allegedly shot him in the process with his service pistol, firing his gun twice at close range.
The three other passengers tried to apprehend the fleeing Customs officers, but they were shot repeatedly by the officers as they fled.
The angry youths in the area who carried the corpse from where it was abandoned, demanded that the Customs comptroller should hand over the trigger happy officer to the police for prosecution as they marched to the nearby customs barracks.
They condemned claims by the Customs officers that the deceased and the injured persons were smugglers.
The intervention of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Seme Division, Mr. Muazu Mohammed, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), was what brought normalcy back to the area, but not until the youths shattered the windshield of the police patrol van.
In his reaction, youth chairman at the J5 park, Seme, who identified himself as Dosu said they wouldn’t allow anyone to sweep the killing under the carpet as in the past.
He alleged that the killing of villagers was becoming one too many on the part of the Customs, who fire indiscriminately at villagers and in order to cover their tracks, claim that the victims were shot at because they are smugglers.
“We have had enough of this wanton killings and we want the controller to hand over the killer to the police to investigate the matter. Also, why is it that the officers involved in the incident have not gone to make statement at the station since the matter is homicide and the deceased’s vehicle taken away by custom and not the police,” he said.
He noted that the action of the customs service was to afford them the opportunity to conceal vital evidence that might unravel the situation that led to the death of the deceased since they knew they were guilty of murdering the poor man.
Customs Public Relations Officer (PRO), Seme Command, Mr. Ernest Ollotah, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs, however, said he was not aware of any killing, rather, the investigation at hand was the case of an attempt to disarm some Customs officers by some smugglers, who fled the area, after they were repelled by security men.
“I am not aware of any killing, but we are investigating an attempt to disarm some of our men by smugglers. However, we will make the outcome of the investigations known to the public,” he said.
Sources however said police claimed otherwise as the situation report at the Police Command headquarters, Ikeja, clearly stated that the deceased was shot and killed by some Customs officers at Gbetrome area of Seme.