The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confirmed the arrest of four members of the patrol team involved in the killing of their civilian ‘friend’, Godwin Onoja.
The NCS also stated that a panel set up to investigate the killing could not conclude its investigation because the officer, who accidentally shot Onoja, Destiny Onebamho, was receiving medical attention after he was attacked by motorists following the killing.
Onoja was shot by a member of the five-man Customs patrol team while they were trying to allegedly extort N5,000 bribe from a group of travellers coming from Europe at the Sagamu end of the Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway.
It was gathered that the victim was shot during an altercation between the officers of the Federal Operations Unit of the NCS, Ikeja, Lagos, and the travellers, who boarded an Iyare Motors’ passenger bus travelling to Benin City from Lagos.
A statement from the NCS Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, on Tuesday, said Onebamho would be questioned by the panel once fit to enable it conclude its investigation and recommend appropriate actions to be taken against the operatives.
According to the statement, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) has directed a thorough investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident with a view to ensuring that justice is served.
Attah stated, “Following the unfortunate incident of Sunday, February 17, 2019, at the Sagamu interchange involving operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, which led to the death of a fellow citizen, Mr Godwin Onoja, the Nigeria Customs Service has continued to maintain close contact with the bereaved family.
“We are pained by this sad development and share the grief of losing a fellow compatriot in a seemingly avoidable circumstance. We will continue to take every necessary step to cushion the pain associated with losing a dear one.
“In line with this directive, the investigation panel headed by the Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, ACG Kaycee Ekekezie, has interrogated and detained four members of the patrol team.
“The panel could not immediately conclude the investigation because the actual officer, ASCI Destiny Onebamho, whose rifle accidentally discharged and killed Onoja, is presently receiving medical attention following the attack on him owing to the unfortunate incident. He will face the panel as soon as he is fit to do so to enable the panel conclude investigation and recommend appropriate actions.”
Attah added that the ongoing investigation would be holistic and would involve looking at the weapon handling skills of the operatives and actions that must be taken by the service to prevent future occurrences.