Panic erupted at the Badagry Roundabout, Lagos State, when hoodlums took to the street to protest the death of a suya seller who was allegedly killed by custom officers on Wednesday. The victim, Samuel Apase, was shot after an altercation with the officers which arose during payment negotiations after the officers seized a Totoya Camry he allegedly used to smuggle bags of rice and frozen foods from Seme. The custom officers reportedly opened fire on Apase, killing him and injuring a number of passersby hit by their stray bullets.
An eyewitness at the scene, Adeleke Adesiji, stated that the incident enraged hoodlums in the area who took to the streets to smash the windscreen of a patrol van used by the officers who fled the scene. The injured victims were rushed to the Badagry General Hospital and Apase’s corpse was deposited at the morgue, Punch reports.
“The officers chased Apase with their vehicle to Muwo, where they collected the car from him. After they had left with the car, he followed them to the Badagry Roundabout and tried to ‘settle’ them so that he could have the car back. I think their negotiation went awry and they started arguing with each other. They shot him and he died on the spot. A mallam, who sells ‘suya’ and another man were hit by stray bullets. They have been taken to the hospital. A mob vandalised the windscreen of the customs’ vehicle.”
The spokesperson for NCS, Badagry Command, Taopeng Selchang, said that he could not confirm any casualties, and that the officers only shot into the air to disperse the hoodlums who attacked them and injured the patrol van’s driver while the seized goods from Apase were being taken away.
“Some hoodlums ambushed them at the roundabout with cutlasses and other weapons. They attacked the officers with machetes. They also smashed the windscreen and the wing mirrors of the vehicle. One of the hoodlums was struggling with an officer to dispossess him of his rifle when other officers shot into the air to disperse the hoodlums and ensure that the seized goods get to the command’s headquarters; there was pandemonium thereafter.
The officers were only interested in bringing the contraband to the command, so they are not in a position to know whether somebody was killed or not.”