The Nigerian Customs Service has disputed reports that an officer allegedly shot and killed a Nigerian returning from abroad.
Backstory: The incident was recorded and shown in a video that has since gone viral on social media. In the video, an unnamed lady is repeatedly heard saying “Customs officer killed somebody because of N5000” with the guilty officer apprehended and shown on tape.
The Nigerian Customs Service has however denied the incident in a press statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah.
“While it is painful and totally unnecessary to lose life in anti-smuggling operations, today at Shagamu interchange along Ijebu Ode, 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 led to the death of a young man (Godwin) and serious injury of a Customs Officer, ASC1, Destiny Onebamho,” the statement said.
The Customs spokesperson stated that the person killed was neither an American returnee nor a passenger of the bus but a Nigerian citizen who assists officers of the service.
“Contrary to some narratives, the young man was not a passenger of the bus but a good citizen who always come to fetch water for Customs Patrol men anytime they return to the base. Preliminary findings indicate that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the Officer that the rifle discharged and hit the friend of the Customs (Godwin) who lost his life. The Service is already in touch with the bereaved family.”
He added that: “Sadly, it should be noted that while attention shifted to the dead and the wounded, the passengers who filmed with inciting commentaries boarded their vehicle and left, leaving the wrong impression that it was one of them that was killed.”
“While the wounded Officer is under intensive care at the hospital, the patrol team has been recalled to the office for further investigation,” he concluded.
Bottom Line: The statement is totally at variance with what was recorded in the video. While an argument was ongoing, an officer cocked his gun and shot a person dead. The statement claims it was an accidental discharge but that’s not what was caught on video. The Statement does not cut it at all; a proper independent investigation needs to be done.