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Customs officer shoots driver, confiscates bags of rice

Umaru

Umaru

Traders at Daleko Market in Mushin, Lagos State, have kicked against the manner a bus driver, Sunday Umaru, 37, was shot on August 23 by a Customs officer and abandoned while writhing in pain.

He was heading to Ilupeju area of the metropolis to deliver some bags of rice .

The Customs officer, attached to the Federal Operation Unit (FOU), Ikeja, Lagos State, was alleged to have driven away with the victim’s vehicle and bags of rice, after shooting him.

The bus driver, is at present, battling for life in the hospital.

It was gathered that some Customs officials who were on patrol around the area flagged him down. He stopped, but was shot when he resisted attempts by the officers from impounding his vehicle.

A trader at the market, Alfa Tijani, said: “It was during argument that one of the Customs officers brought out a gun and shot Umaru on the arm and shoulder.

“Immediately after shooting him, they drove off with his vehicle and bags of rice, leaving him writhing in pain. It was a Good Samaritan, who later rushed him to the hospital. The matter was also reported at Ilupeju Police Station.”

Another trader, Abbey Moshood, said: “On that fateful day, Umaru, after loading the bags of rice and some other foodstuffs from the market, went through Ilupeju to deliver his wares. The Customs officials stopped him. After explaining to them that the bags of rice were not smuggled ones, they still insisted on impounding his vehicle and the bags of rice. They claimed that he brought the rice from Benin Republic.

“We were shocked when we got to Customs office at Ikeja, to find out that the seized vehicle and bags of rice were labeled as smuggled goods.”

Another trader, Mr. Adekunle Kupoluyi, said: “This is not the first time Customs officials would attack our colleagues, claiming they were smuggling rice into the country. We are not smugglers. The rice we sell in Daleko Market is brought to us by those who went to Cotonou to buy them. Some of the people that brought the rice into our market are not arrested by Customs. Rather, they would come to the market, to attack ordinary traders, looking for what to feed their family.

“Two of our colleagues’ vehicles and about 150 bags, were seized by Customs officers last month. We are law-abiding citizens. We are not into smuggling. We have reported the matter at Ilupeju Police Station. We urge the Federal Government to come to our aid. We don’t want to be forced out of business.”

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