A 37-year-old man, Tunde Emiola, who was shot by unidentified officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Oyo/Osun Command is seeking for justice and compensation.
Mr Emiola, a cobbler and father of four, was one of the four people shot by some customs officers in Ibadan when a crisis broke out between them and commercial motorcyclists.
The fight broke out between the two groups at the Oyo/Osun barracks along the Ijokodo-Apete Road in Ibadan on Tuesday, March 10.
The four people, who were plying the road at the time the fight happened, were immediately taken to the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan for medical attention.
Three of them later lost their lives despite the medical intervention, PREMIUM TIMES was informed. They have been buried.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Abdullahi Lagos, however, insisted that only one person was shot during the fracas.
Mr Lagos in a statement a day after the incident, also maintained that no one died as a result of the incident.
He said a truck suspected to be carrying some prohibited items hit a commercial motorcyclist along the Apete Road that Tuesday while trying to evade arrest.
He also said the victim was quickly taken to the University College Hospital for treatment.
But, four months after the incident, one of the victims, Mr Emiola has urged Nigerians including its political leaders to save him from permanent incapacitation due to the wounds he sustained.
Mr Emiola, who said four bullets were removed from his stomach after two surgical operations at UCH, noted that all efforts to get compensation from the customs Oyo/ Osun command led by area comptroller, Helen Ngozi, were unsuccessful.
He called on Nigerians to prevail on the customs boss, Ahmed Ali, to compensate him accordingly.
Mr Emiola also confirmed the other three who were shot have died and been buried.
Mr, Emiola, who could not recollect the names of the other victims, said “one of them was buried at Peace Estate along the Awotan-Akufo Road in Ibadan, one was buried in Apete in Ibadan”.
But he could not remember where the third person was buried.
He, however, said the customs service paid N500, 000 as medical fee at UCH, while his family paid another N350,000 “when the customs refused to take the responsibility for his medical bill again.”
He also said he was shot when he was taking some kids back home after school. He had noticed some people being chased by some customs officers.
“I later saw that this side of my stomach is hot and one of the policemen told me to stop that I have been hit by bullets. They told me that it was bullets. I opened my cloth and showed them. They took us to UCH. Four of us were hit by bullets. I don’t know their names but I know their people. So, when were taken to UCH, they did not attend to me on time. I immediately called my brothers that I have been hit by bullets.
“In the presence of my brothers, they did the first operation on Wednesday, they concluded the operation around 3 a.m. on Wednesday 11th March. Nine days after I could not defecate, I went to toilet and some minutes after the ‘operation broke’.
“They did the operation twice. It was Dr Ajayi that did the second operation. I was discharged from UCH on 24th March,” he said.
“The customs paid N500, 000 but after that, when we need money and called them they will say that the customs area comptroller charge of Oyo/ Osun is not around. That there is no money. Later, we called my brothers. They are the ones that brought in money. My family paid N350,000 for the medical fee,” he added.
He said he has not been able to do any heavy lifting since he was discharged and is also unable to support his family.
“Since then, if I sleep, it will be as of they open an oven in my stomach, I cannot do any heavy job now, I don’t have enough strength again. I have four kids and two wives. I am a cobbler, I have a shop at home in Ijokodo.
“I am appealing to President Buhari, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives and other well-meaning Nigerians to help me get justice. I have been incapacitated. I need compensation,” he said.
‘Matter beyond us now’
Meanwhile, Mr Lagos told PREMIUM TIMES the matter is now beyond the command as “the victim has taken the matter to the customs headquarters in Abuja.”
The spokesperson of the service, Joseph Attah, said he was not aware of Mr Emiola’s plight or request.
Mr Attah who spoke with the reporter Friday evening said, “I am not aware of the story you are talking about. I am not aware of the incident you are talking about. I am not aware.
“It is the command that supposed to brief me on the matter, and not you. So I am not aware of the story.”