Alade Oba: Customs ‘kill Nigerian schoolboy while trying to stop rice smugglers’

A Lagos SS3 student has been shot dead during a clash between security operatives of the Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) and suspected rice smugglers at Irosu near Badagry.

The 18-year-old student, Alade Oba, was hit by a stray bullet and died on the spot during the clash with JBPT comprising the customs service, the army, and the NIS. The JBPT, established in the aftermath of the border closure of August 2019, has yet to be disbanded.

It was gathered that the JBPT were on routine patrol at Irosu near Sawa checkpoint around Owode-Apa border post in search of smuggled foreign rice, following a tip-off.

However, some youths confronted the operatives, vowing that on no account should any security agent be allowed to enter their domain to carry out the operation.

“However, in the ensuing fracas, the operatives started shooting into the air. In the process, one Alade Oba, an SSS3 student of Kankon Secondary School, was hit by a stray bullet and died on the spot.

“This resulted in a serious protest by the youths who mobilised and burned tyres, demanding the release of Oba’s corpse,” a source at the scene said.

The unrest prompted the Commanding Officer of 243 Recce Battalion, Ibereko, Badagry, Col. Nicholas Rume, to lead his men to the area to contain what could have degenerated into further loss of lives.

The JBPT later released the student’s corpse to the family for burial.

David Aladeotan, chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) in Badagry West, said, “Despite the fact that elders and leaders of the community assured them that there was no smuggled rice in the village, they continued searching. They did not get anything.

“So, they deliberately picked some motorcycles parked by some people. This resulted in a confrontation between the officials and the motorcycle riders. The riders overpowered them and collected their motorcycles. This made the JBPT reinforce, blocked the roads, restricting people’s movement.”

Mr Aladeotan added, “Consequently, they started shooting sporadically into the air and around. The bullets hit two people immediately. One of the victims is an SS3 student of Kankon Senior Secondary School, who died on the spot, while the other hit on the leg was receiving treatment in hospital.”

Abdullahi Hussain, the spokesman for the Seme Customs Area Command, confirmed the incident.

According to him, the security operatives were attacked by rice smugglers using bush paths in Irosu.

“The officials of JPBT blocked the bush paths and apprehended some motorcycles being used for smuggling rice. The smugglers went to mobilise about 150 people to attack the officials of JBPT, throwing stones and using other weapons.

“It was when they made an attempt to burn one of the Hilux buses by the team that the officials were forced to shoot into the air to scare them away. It was during the shooting that a stray bullet hit one of the ring leaders. The allegation that the guy was coming from the farm is a lie. He was among the smugglers,” said Mr Hussain.

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