Driver allegedly shot by Customs officer resisted arrest
Victim incited mob, tried to snatch officer’s riffle, says NCS
The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), yesterday denied culpability of its officers in the alleged shooting of a bus driver, Sunday Umaru. It said Umaru was shot when he resisted arrest.
Traders at Daleko Market in Mushin, Lagos State, had at the weekend kicked against the manner Umaru, 37, who was heading to Ilupeju area of the metropolis to deliver some bags of rice, was shot on August 23 by a Customs officer and abandoned while writhing in pain.
The traders said the Customs officer drove away with the victim’s vehicle and bags of rice, after shooting him. He is presently in the hospital battling for his life.
Trouble started when Customs officials who were on patrol around the area flagged him down. He stopped but was shot when he resisted attempts by the officers to impound his vehicle.
However, Custom authorities said operatives at Sango area had trailed the driver and intercepted the deceased in his Mercedes Benz bus with registration number KJA310XB, allegedly loaded with 100 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice at Daleko market.
Debunking claims that the officers involved overstepped their bounds and abandoned the victim in pains, the Zone A Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jerry Attah, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs, said the allegations were misleading.
“The attention of the Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, has been drawn to an unverified report by some national dailies to the effect that some officers of FOU Zone A, shot one Mr. Sunday Umaru, whose bus was conveying smuggled rice and abandoned him in pains, then took the bus and its contents to Customs Office Ikeja.
“We hereby state the facts as follows: On August 30, 2016, at about 1:25p.m., operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, acting on a tip-off , traced one bus loaded with 100 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice all the way from Sango area and eventually to Daleko, Mushin area of Lagos where it stopped.
“Before he was finally halted at Daleko, the driver was shouting and making comments that incited a mob action against the officers with different dangerous weapons such as broken bottles, stones and cutlasses. Obviously, he drove to where he could get his associates to help attack the Customs officers.
“Encouraged by support from the mob, he resisted lawful arrest and grabbed the rifle of an officer, struggling and attempting to disarm the operative. It was during this daring attempt that the riffle discharged, hitting his right shoulder.
“The other armed operatives fired shots into the air to disperse the mob. The officers seized the bus and its content and immediately rushed the wounded Umaru to the Ikeja General Hospital for treatment.
“These facts clearly contradict the media report that he was abandoned in pain. We thank God that no life was lost in the incident, but it is obvious Umaru deliberately embarked on a very dangerous mission of attempting to disarm an officer by grabbing a loaded riffle,” the statement stated.