Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
A pregnant woman, identified as Olugunna Bukola was, on Thursday, shot by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Iyana-Iyesi area of Ota in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Bukola, who was said to be eight months pregnant and a staff of IBEDC, Ota, was allegedly shot by the NCS operatives attached to the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Ikeja, around 7.45a.m. while on her way to the office.
A resident of the area who witnessed the incident said the woman was hit by bullets on her back and the left side of her body, when the customs officials were on the pursuit of rice smugglers in the area.
The source also said though the woman was rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment, he could not ascertain whether the woman survived the gunshot wounds or not.
The source, who craved anonymity, informed our correspondent that the customs official who shot the pregnant woman was later arrested by policemen attached to Obasanjo Farm police station and later taken to Sango Police Station.
When contacted, spokesman of Customs FOU, Ikeja, Jerry Attah, said he was yet to confirm the incident.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Ogun State Customs Area Command, Abdullahi Maiwada, however, confirmed that the incident, but said the woman was only brushed by stray bullets and not hit.
According to him, the officers were on a trail of a suspected smuggled vehicle, and not rice as claimed, when they were mobbed by some “unpatriotic members of the public”.
“The officers were on a trail of a suspected smuggled vehicle and in the process, they were mobbed by some unpatriotic members of the public. The officers were left with no option than to shoot sporadically into the air, in the process, the woman was brushed by a stray bullet.
“The Customs officers were in police station for safety to avoid mob attack not the insinuation that they were arrested by the police. We spoke with the relative of her husband and the doctor, they both confirmed that the woman is responding to treatment,” Maiwada stated.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, also confirmed the incident.
According to Oyeyemi, mob at the scene of the incident had wanted to attack the customs officials, but for the timely intervention of the policemen, who rescued the FOU operatives to the police station.
Oyeyemi, an ASP, stated that normalcy had since returned to the area, while the victim of the gunshots was responding to treatment.
Speaking with our correspondent on phone, brother in-law of the victim, Tosin Ologunna, said she had been stabilised at the hospital, adding the pregnancy was not also affected.
He, however, expressed disappointment at the way the incident was treated by the police, saying the matter must be taken to the higher authority to ensure justice is done.
In the words of Tosin, “I thank God that she who was shot this morning is now okay and stable. The pregnancy too, the doctors said it was okay. The victim is my younger brother’s wife and I am happy she survived the gunshot.
“But I must tell you that we feel cheated and we want justice to be done in this case. Imagine the Police Area Commander of Sango just instructed that the hospital bill be paid and nothing more. To me, this is cheating and unfair,” he submitted.