There appears to be a fresh angle to the recent killing of a man; Godwin Onoja by a member of a five-man patrol team of Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja, Lagos at the Sagamu end of the Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway while they were allegedly trying to extort N5,000 from him.
Speaking at a visit to the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos, Controller of the FOU, Compt Muhammed Aliyu said that on examination, customs discovered 3,000 packs of 25miligram size of tramadol and 2,000 machetes inside the bus ferrying the passengers.
The customs boss said one of the 250mg sachet cost almost N100,000.
Also, contrary to reports that the officers were trying to extort the travelers of N5,000, he said the three officers were following up on the dangerous drugs.
Aliyu claimed that one of the occupants of the bus was trying to disarm an officer and that in the struggle, the weapon discharged and killed an assistant of the officer who has worked with him for over twenty five years.
Giving an update, Aliyu said “We just stopped the bus and people started shouting that we wanted to collect N5,000 bribe, but the man wanted to disarm the officer and that was why there was accidental discharge which killed the camp boy”
“That camp boy have served the officer for twenty five years, the officer was the one paying the school fees for his children and like a bread winner”
“The first bag we dragged out was having 3,000 packs of tramadol, the second bag we dragged out was carrying 2,000 machetes”
Aliyu who later reiterated the same position at a subsequent visit to the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Friday was reacting to complaints by agents that FOU officers were carrying out illegal operations around Ondo axis.
“When last did you see me in the public, when I leave my house, I only go to the office and the airport, if I dare travel out of Lagos on my own, I will be killed because I am fighting these drug traffickers”
“So when you see officers on the road, they are not on their own, they know what they are doing. I strategize my operations, I don’t allow my officers to go to the villages to start killing innocent people because of one bag of rice”
“The villagers will not consume these rice, definitely it would come to the road and we would pick them up”
“If you see the way we battle car dealers, you will be surprised. We currently have about twelve bullet prove cars, do you know how we got it? We cannot get it all at ones, we wait for them to display it on their car parks and we pick it up”
“You need to assist us, seeing us on the road is to help you”
“Customs do not have any friend, they only have enemies, if three customs officers are killed today, you will not hear the news until three days time, but if a villager is mistakenly shot, the whole village would be on fire”
The FOU boss confirmed that kidnappers on Abuja Kaduna road after demanding huge ransoms, are now asking their victims to come with two cartons of tramadol.