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Customs denies shooting man in Ogun, alleges smugglers are responsible

Joy Anyim

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has denied the allegation that its men pulled the trigger that killed one Mr. Idowu Moses in Egua area of Ogun State, last Saturday.  

The Service maintained its officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs (ASC) II, A. K. Usman, was  abducted during an operation in the area, and his rifle seized and used by smugglers  to perpetrate the crime.

Explaining the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident, the Ogun 1 Command Customs Public Relations Officer, HB Oloyede, in a statement on Monday, said Officers from Zone ‘B’ team, Ogun I Command had following a tip off, gone on a patrol along Oja-odan, Egua axis, where 18 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg each) were intercepted.

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He said the seizures were abandoned by smugglers in a convoy of motorcycles after sighting the Officers.

However, Oloyede said that while the team evacuated the contraband items and were on their way back, the smugglers ambushed them.

He said, “ The officers were attacked by mob armed with dangerous weapons including Dane guns, bottles,  stones and charms. An Assistant Superintendent of Customs (ASC) 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.

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“The reinforcements was 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 been beaten up,  magazine of his rifle loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition was found empty.

“This is an indication that the hoodlums fired his rifle which could have led to the death of the victim,  given that the hoodlums are untrained in the handling of such weapon.”

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Oloyede stated that a suspect had been arrested in connection to the mayhem that led to the ugly incident

“He was arrested at the scene and had been detained for further investigation.

The Nigeria Customs Service noted with regrets the death of 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 explain why the rifle was returned without a single ammunition. We also wish to register our heartfelt condolence and prayers to the family and friends of the bereaved for this irreparable loss, ” he stated.

The Service said investigation was ongoing and the outcome would  be made public.