One dead as Customs, car dealers clash in Ilorin

One person has been confirmed dead, and another injured following a clash between officials of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and car dealers at the Saw Mill area of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday.

While a source said two people were feared dead following the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kwara State Command, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, confirmed the death of one person.

An eye-witness told journalists in Ilorin that some Customs officials engaged in a hot pursuit of a vehicle said to be conveying suspected smuggled cosmetics products into Ilorin metropolis.

The source said the fleeing driver of the vehicle resisted arrest, prompting the Customs official to fire gunshots, to stop him.

He said, “An unidentified Customs officer shot a driver of the vehicle and he died while his assistant sustained wounds. The car dealer, who has just arrived from a foreign trip from Benin Republic was stopped by the officers on a high way. When the suspected smuggler did not obey officers, they chased him and later shot the two occupants of the vehicle and ran away.”

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered that some car dealers and youths mobilised and barricaded some roads leading to the Operational Office of the Customs behind Ilorin praying ground.

The aggrieved car dealers and youths were said to have wielded dangerous weapons and protested towards the Customs office.

Anti-riot Police officers were brought in to restore normalcy to the area. It was gathered that the police officers shot into the air to scare the protesters.

Our correspondent also gathered that roads linking the Customs office were blocked by the Customs and armed police officers. It was further gathered that authorities of the CAC junior secondary school close to the Customs office hurriedly closed the school for the day to ensure the safety of the pupils.

Okasanmi confirmed to journalists the clash between the Customs officers and some car dealers. He said one person died during the crisis, adding that the remains had been deposited at a hospital morgue.

“Only one person died. We have made no arrest over the incident, but normalcy has returned to the area after the melee. The police would not tolerate people taking laws into their hands,” he said.