According to a report by The PUNCH, the Sokoto/Zamfara Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has denied reports that four persons died in a crash allegedly caused by its officers on Sunday.
The command, in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer, Balarabe Yusuf, on behalf of the Area Controller, Abdulhameed Ma’aji, however, confirmed that one passenger died in the accident, while others, who sustained injuries, were taken to hospital for treatment.
The statement read, “On January 2, 2022, officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, Sokoto/Zamfara Command Mobile Team ‘A’, based on credible intelligence about smuggled goods, mounted a stop-and-search operation at Asara village, along the Sokoto-Illela Road.
“Around 8am, a Toyota Avensis with tinted glasses believed to be conveying smuggled items was flagged down for a search, but the driver, upon sighting officers, tried to escape and in the process almost knocked down one of the officers, who quickly jumped out of his way.
“Unfortunately, the vehicle ran into an oncoming commercial vehicle, had a head-on collision that resulted in the death of one passenger, while others sustained injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
“However, some unscrupulous elements, who disguised as sympathisers, mobbed our officers at the point and in the process set one patrol vehicle and a private vehicle belonging to one of the officers ablaze.
“In order to contain the situation from further escalating, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Abdulhameed Ma’aji, sent a reinforcement team, which succeeded in restoring law and order in the area.”
Earlier reports, however, indicated that four persons died and six others were injured in the accident, which involved three commercial vehicles.