Customs accused of killing 30-year-old car dealer
The Lagos State Police Command has commenced investigations into the murder of a 30-year-old car dealer, Uririnke Onojorhoevwo, who was allegedly killed by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service in Iyana Ipaja area of the state.
According to the police, the Delta State indigene was shot to death on June 16, 2013, after being pursued by customs men attached to the Federal Operation Unit.
Some policemen attached to Gowon Police Division, who witnessed the incident, said after the killing, the customs men fled.
A policeman, who craved anonymity, said, 'On June 16, around 5am, we saw customs men in a Toyota Hilux van with registration number, CS307A01, chasing a white unregistered Audi Station wagon. The customs men shot the tyre of the vehicle and also shot its driver.
'The driver, who was bleeding profusely, came out of the vehicle and attempted to run. One of the customs men alighted from the Hilux, moved close to the car dealer, and shot him again. They did not touch the corpse but entered into their vehicle and fled immediately.'
The police source told PUNCH Metro that policemen later recovered the corpse and took it to the station.
When asked if the deceased was a smuggler, the policeman said there was no evidence to prove that he was.
He said, 'After the killing, we began preliminary investigation. We thought he was a smuggler but we decided to search the vehicle. We discovered that all the relevant documents were intact including the customs duty.
'We also deduced that the deceased was driving from Idi-Iroko border and was heading towards Lagos.'
Our correspondent learnt that the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, for further investigation.
A source at the Homicide Department at the SCID, told our correspondent that all attempts to get information from the NCS proved abortive as it did not respond to a letter written to it.
The source said, 'We wrote a letter to customs two weeks ago. We even made telephone calls to their administration department, but they have not been forthcoming.'
The elder brother of the deceased, Bakapo Onojorhoevwo, told PUNCH Metro that the deceased sold vehicles for a living.
He said the deceased was based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and was probably heading towards there when he was killed.
He said he was pained that his brother was not married and had no children. He said the family would like to know what transpired.
He said, 'Around 7.30am on that very day, I called my brother's telephone but a policeman picked it up and told me that my brother was involved in an accident and I should come to Mainland Medical Centre, Yaba. I went there with my younger sister and we were told that my brother had been killed by customs men.
'His corpse is still there and we are waiting for autopsy. My brother has been dealing in cars for the past four years. We do not know what actually happened so we want the customs to explain to us.'
When contacted on the telephone, Public Relations Officer, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the NCS, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, said investigations were ongoing.
A text message he sent to our correspondent read, 'We are on top of the situation. Necessary and appropriate steps will be taken in due course.'