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BREAKING: 14-year-old boy killed as smugglers ram into bystanders while fleeing from Customs officials in Katsina

A 14 year-old-boy, Ibrahim, lost his life when a J5 Peugeot bus being chased by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service in Jibia rammed into bystanders in Jibia town, Katsina State.

Witnesses told Premium Times that the bus was being chased by officials of the Federal Operating Unit, Zone B of the Nigeria Customs Service when it crushed the boy around 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2024.

The accident occurred around Tudun Wada Primary School, Tashar Huraira in the town.

“We were sitting in front of Mai Masara filling station when the accident occurred. The J5 driver was at high speed trying to run away from the customs officials when he lost control of the steering wheel and ran into a crowd but only the boy got crushed. We were lucky too. Other people were lucky to escape,” said an eyewitness, who gave his name as Buhari.

He said the customs van reversed and drove back to their checkpoint after the accident.

“I was on the farm around 11 a.m. when my nephew rushed to inform me of the incident,” Ibrahim Musa, the teenager’s father told the publication over the phone. “When I reached the scene, he was already dead. His body was severely damaged by the vehicle,”

Musa, a peasant farmer, said onlookers and other family members took the corpse to the Divisional Police Office in Jibia from where they were referred to the hospital where the boy was confirmed dead.

“The DPO asked us to make a statement and handed the dead body to us. He asked us to go and bury it since they had already taken our statement. I want the government to do justice to us, the Customs officials caused this because they were chasing a vehicle in a populated place like Jibia,”

He said appropriate sanctions must be taken to serve as a deterrent.

The Chairman of the Jibia Peoples Forum, Gide Dahiru, said the driver of the J5 informed them that the soybeans in his vehicle were brought from Batsari and not the Niger Republic.

“The situation in Jibia is becoming confusing because we don’t know what the customs officials are supposed to stop. Even if you bring in goods from Katsina or Kano, they stop and ask you for a bribe. If you refuse to give them they will seize the goods and say it’s contrabands,” he lamented.

The Federal Operations Unit Zone B Kaduna spokesperson, Isa Sulaiman, said the accident was not caused by Customs officials.

“I am aware that we have a team along the Jibiya Border that is within a 40km radius. The officials of the NCS didn’t cause the incident you are referring to as alleged; it was caused by the reckless driving of the driver of that J5 bus you are referring to. But some unscrupulous elements are hell-bent on twisting the narration,” he said.

“Smugglers are unhappy with our resolve to ensure that illicit items do not find their way into the country” but the service would continue to enforce the directives of the federal government despite efforts to smear its name,”

“We are a Service of repute and we sympathise with the families of the victims and an investigation is ongoing to unravel the cause of the incident in collaboration with relevant agencies. Whoever is found guilty will face the consequences of his actions,” he said.