There was pandemonium in the usually Abule – Egba community, Lagos Mainland, yesterday, Wednesday, January 17, 2018, following a shootout that occurred in the area. A victim identified as Toheeb Olayiwola was declared dead after he was hit by a stray bullet during the incident.
It was learnt that trouble started in the community when officials of the Nigerian Customs chased a bus loaded with smuggled bags of rice.
The victim was reportedly in the bus with number plates LND685XJ, coming from Sango in Ogun State when the Customs accosted the bus at Abule-Egba and started shooting sporadically.
According to a witness, Ahmed Ogundairo, who spoke to Vanguard, the bus was enroute Mushin from Sango when the Custom officials accosted the driver and started shooting in the process.
The incident however led to a serious riot in the area with aggrieved residents setting up bonfires across different parts of the community in protest of the killing.
“The commercial bus, which was loaded with bags of rice, was en route Mushin from Sango, when the Customs officers stopped the bus and started shooting,” he said.
He added that: “My friend was inside the bus to assist in offloading the rice, but he was shot dead when he tried to escape from the scene. The bus was hired to deliver the rice to Mushin.”
Another eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that the victim was not a smuggler, but a conductor with a commercial bus.
Meanwhile, a policeman from Oke-Odo Division, who was at the scene of the accident, said that no official statement could be made until the arrival of the Divisional Police Officer.
Commenting on the incident, the Customs Public Relations Officer, Federal Operations, Ikeja, Mr. Jerry Attah, said the team trailed a vehicle loaded with smuggled rice to Abule-Egba, Lagos Mainland, adding that the Customs men were mobbed by smugglers who prevented the officers from carrying out their duties.
Presently, relative peace has returned to the area following the swift intervention of security operatives who swung into action to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
A resident who spoke to InsideMainland said there is palpable fear in the community as there are indications that the gang in support of those that were affected in the incident might stage a reprisal attack.