Customs shoots man to death in Oyo

Personnel of the Osun/Oyo Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were alleged to have shot one man to death in Saki town in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State on Monday when they invaded Isale Adeen area of the town.

The NCS officials were said to have stormed a market on Ikomi Road in a commando style, shot sporadically into the air to effect the arrest of suspected smugglers and confiscated some suspected contraband goods.

However, during the melee that followed, the middle-aged man, identified simply as Idowu was hit by the gunshot and died instantly.

It was gathered that no fewer than four other persons were said to have been hospitalized due to injuries sustained in the fracas, just as it was stated that the remains of the late Idowu had been buried according to Islamic rites.

Sources disclosed that the NCS personnel had uncovered a warehouse in the market where suspected banned goods like rice and other products were hidden and this informed the operation in the market.

About 10 Hilux vehicles of the NCS with an Armoured Personnel Carrier have been stationed around the area to contain possible reprisal action from the people.

It was equally gathered that owing to the tension created by the incident, many of the residents could not move freely and farmers in the community could not go to their farms.

One of the residents, Adeola Fehintola, who spoke with reporters, said “the heavy presence of the men of the Customs Service is very worrisome indeed, the sporadic shooting and its eventual effect was another.

“I learnt the officials suspected a warehouse they came to raid. We are not saying that they should not raid, it is their legitimate duty, but they should do so with rights of individuals in mind, they can impound and arrest, but not to shoot to kill.

“Smuggling is bad, but the problem many people here are facing is that everybody is now a smuggler. If my relations in Ogbomoso or Oyo ask me to buy rice and bring for them and it is seen in my car, I would be seen as a smuggler.

“That should not be the case. Everybody has got the fundamental human right under the law, but with this invasion, the rights of many people here have been violated.

“This is an agrarian community. Many farmers were afraid to go to their farms. If the government makes provision for planting of rice in large scale, many of our youths would be meaningfully engaged and the issue of smuggling rice into the country would be minimized”, he said.

The Command’s spokesperson, Nkiru Nwala said the necessary facts about the incident were being collated and that the public would be duly informed appropriately through the media.