Adeyemi Salau, a clearing agent, has become incapacitated after a yet-to-be-identified officer of the Nigeria Bureau of Customs , Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, allegedly shot him.
The customs officer allegedly shot his right leg at the Berger checkpoint, Otto Wharf Bus-stop, within the Ajeromi Ifelodun government Area of Lagos State.
Salau told our correspondent that he had gone to the PTML terminal in Tincan to clear a vehicle when he was attacked and shot within the leg by the official.
He said, “I cleared a Toyota RAV 4 2019 model from the PTML terminal, Tincan on St Patrick’s Day , 2021. The owner of the vehicle and a lover , Monday, were both within the vehicle once I drove to the Berger checkpoint, where the customs officers from the Federal Operations Unit stopped me and ordered me to wind down the window of the car. The customs officers were about 20 at the checkpoint. Immediately I wound down, a two-star customs officer started hitting me with a gun.
“The officer brought out a jackknife and attempted to stab me, but I waived it. an equivalent officer ordered me to urge down from the car and immediately my right leg stepped on the bottom , he shot me.
“None of the customs officers explained what I did wrong. Other customs officers started beating the car owner; my friend who saw that i used to be in pain and made attempts to assist me, was also beaten up.
“My boss, who was unaware of what happened, called to warn me to take care because he heard a gunshot on the brink of the office. He was surprised once I told him i used to be the one that was shot. i used to be still explaining how the incident happened when the customs officer that shot me collected my phone.”
Salau said the customs officers left him when some Special Protection Unit officers intervened.
He said, “When my wife called the customs officer who was with my phone, he told my wife to go to Ikeja to say my corpse. Later on, one among the SPU officers set me free and that i crawled to some extent where I got a motorcyclist to convey me to a hospital, where the bullet was faraway from my leg. I even have been using crutches to steer since then.
“The Divisional policeman who visited me at the hospital said one among the customs comptrollers told him to offer me N100,000 as he checked abreast of me, but I rejected it. My company’s representatives later collected the cash and another N100,000 was given to us on Friday. On Monday, my lawyer and that i visited the customs Federal Operations Unit in Ikeja, to gather my phone, but they never said anything about the officer who shot me.
“An officer, Mr Jack, called other officers and through a gathering said the duty on the vehicle was low which we didn’t pay the right duty. But the duty paid on the vehicle was given to us by the valuation unit of customs, which may be verified. We didn’t write the duty, it had been given to us by customs and therefore the vehicle was released to us by customs.”
A spokesperson for the FOU, Zone A, Theophilus Duniya, said the victim was shot when he struggled to disarm a customs officer.
He said, “What happened was that a Toyota SUV was impounded and therefore the officer that was driving the vehicle to the office was stopped and overpowered, and therefore the vehicle was snatched.
“But because there was traffic, the team was ready to catch up with the hoodlums who snatched the vehicle and it had been therein process that pandemonium ensued.
“One of them struggled to disarm one among our officers, so a bullet was discharged and therefore the victim got injured. The team demobilised the hoodlums and drove the vehicle to the office. The vehicle remains in our custody and preliminary investigation has shown that there was short payment of over N3.5m on the said vehicle.”
When asked why the agency paid a part of the victim’s medical bills, Duniya said it had been done on compassionate grounds, adding that the law would still take its course.
On the claim that the duty paid was what was charged by customs, Duniya said, “Yes, the vehicle was cleared through a customs process, but what happened within the process is what I cannot tell. the result of our investigation will tell what actually happened.”