Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun State command, have allegedly shot and killed a 15-year-old girl, Sekinat Agbelade, while chasing smugglers.
The incident, which reportedly happened in Agosasa town in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state on Saturday, has however thrown the sleepy town into mourning.
The deceased, Daily Sun gathered, was on an errand within the area when she was hit by a stray bullet from the men of Customs Service.
She eventually gave up the ghost at a private hospital in the community.
Public Relations Officer of the command, Abdulahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident, stating that, “I can confirm the incident but I don’t have the facts. By the time I have the facts, I would make it available,” he said.
But according to an eyewitness, the Customs officers were chasing a purple- colour Toyota Camry which was allegedly driven by a suspected rice smuggler. He added that the officers were able to arrest the smuggler and afterwards started shooting indiscriminately at everyone at sight.
“Everything happened at about 1 p.m on Saturday and aside Sekinat who died, two other people, 55-year-old Oluwole Oladosu and Saliu Babalola, were also injured by stray bullets.
“The incident happened in Agosasa area. The Customs were chasing a smuggler and the exact place is called Ita-Sango. They were able to intercept the smuggler with his smuggled goods and a series of things happened and they started shooting indiscriminately. The surprising thing is that they started shooting sporadically at the people even after intercepting the smuggler.
“It was in the process that this girl, who was sent on an errand to buy nylon was hit by a bullet. Even with the bullet on her, she was making effort to run but she became weak.
“There is one 51-year-old Oluwole who saw the lady wriggling in pain because of the bullet wound and made an effort to rescue her. But these Customs officers, who had already moved the smuggled car, turned back and shot him for daring to save the young girl.
“The lady was taken to Olutunu Hospital at Agosasa where Dr. Fatokun made frantic effort to salvage her life but she had lost a lot of blood because of the bullet wound and she died along the line.”
Meanwhile, the caretaker chairman of the local government, Kabir Abolurin, lamented the incessant killings of innocent citizens in the border town, stating that the matter will be discussed at the next local government security meeting.
“I got to Agosasa after the incident and they have removed the corpse of the girl. I spoke with the DPO of Ipokia and he said he had relayed the issue to the Commissioner of Police.
“We are tired and not happy about this continuous killing of our people by the Customs. The Federal Government didn’t ask them to kill innocent citizens while chasing smugglers. They don’t have the right to shoot at people. We are simply in pains in Ipokia,” he said.