Fleeing From Customs, Driver Crushes Teenager In Katsina

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Tragedy struck in Jibia, Katsina State on Saturday as 14-year-old Mushin Ibrahim, was crushed to death by a J5 Peugeot bus fleeing from officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

According to witnesses’ accounts, the bus involved was trying to evade being impounded by officials of the Federal Operating Unit, Zone B of the NCS when it suddenly rammed into bystanders in the area, running over the boy around 11 a.m

Located on the Nigerian border with the Niger Republic, Jibia, (or Jibiya), a town and Local Government Area (LGA) in Katsina State, is populated by many residents engaging in cross-border trades.

Available reports indicated that the accident occurred around the popular Tudun Wada Primary School, Tashar Huraira, in the bustling town.

Media reports quoted a witness, simply identified as Buhari, thus; “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.

Buhari, who said; “We were lucky and other people were lucky to escape too”, further claimed that the Customs van immediately reversed and drove back to their checkpoint after the unfortunate incident.

The late teenager’s father, Ibrahim Musa, while lamenting the loss of his son, said; “I was on the farm around 11 am when my nephew rushed to inform me of the incident. 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.

He explained thus; “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”.

The distressed father, who further frowned at the negative attitude of Customs officials operating in the area, demanded that appropriate sanctions be taken against the culprits to serve as a deterrent.

Also reacting to the unfortunate incident, the Chairman of Jibia Peoples Forum (JPF), Gide Dahiru, said in their interaction with the J5 driver, he claimed that the soybeans conveyed in his vehicle were brought from Batsari and not the Niger Republic as alleged by the Customs officers.

Reports quoted Dahiru as saying; “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.”

The JPF chairman further alleged that in the circumstance where one refuses to give in and bribe the officials as demanded, “they will seize the goods and declare such as contraband”.

But responding to enquiries on the Saturday incident, the Spokesperson of the Federal Operations Unit NCS, Zone B,  Kaduna, Isa Sulaiman, maintained that the accident was not caused by Customs officials, saying; “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.”

Claiming that smugglers are unhappy with the Customs Service’s resolve to ensure illicit items are not brought into the country, Sulaiman said the Service personnel would not relent in their efforts to enforce the Federal Government’s directives despite efforts by some critics to smear its image.

He further declared thus; “We are a Service of repute and we sympathise with the families of the victims. 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”

Forefront News recalled that the Federal Government had officially closed the country’s border with the Niger Republic following the coup d’état which ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in July 2023.

However, smugglers have continued to have a field day bringing in goods, including contraband, into the country through unofficial routes. – With additional reports from Premium Times.

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