Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has denied the allegations that its operatives attacked a car along Ningi-Kano road which led to the death of a journalist and four others.
It was reported that the late journalist, a freelance reporter with Daily Trust Newspapers in Jos, was killed in a fatal motor accident along with four others on Ningi-Kano road last Saturday.
However, the NCS Public Relations Officer of Federal Operations Unit Zone D in Bauchi, Suleiman Isah, in a statement made available to journalists in Bauchi yesterday, said the allegations were made by the friend of the deceased journalist on twitter.
According to him, “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service was drawn to the misleading tweets by @KNingi on his twitter handle purporting that ‘Officers of the @CustomsNG yesterday (Saturday) on Ningi-Kano road attack a driver carrying bags of rice’.”
Isah said the twitter user added that “incidentally, this resulted in the death of about five passengers, including my friend, reporter of @daily_trust, Bashir Musa Liman.”
Isah, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs II, lamented the tweet was false, mischievous and aimed at “misleading the public that the operatives of the NSC have a hand in the accident that caused loss of lives.
“This story is mischievous, misleading and false in its entirety. As responsible operatives of government, our heart and prayers go to the families of the deceased. We pray Almighty God to grant the deceased Aljannatul-Firdausi.”
He said it was however important to keep the record of the unfortunate accident straight by stating that there was no operative of the NCS on that road in question on that fateful day.
“Immediately after reading the misleading tweet, we began to find out what actually happened. Eye witnesses, including a brother of one of the deceased, have clearly shown that Customs operatives were never associated with the accident since there was none on that road.
“Every narration revolved around over-speeding and attempt to overtake a vehicle which led to the fatal accident was false. We also gathered that one of the vehicles involved in the accident was carrying some bags of rice, therefore, some people thought it could have been operatives of the NCS that caused the accident,” he stated.
The Customs PRO, therefore, advised that any person interested in further verification of his statement is free to contact any appropriate authority, including the Nigeria Police Force, “that might have been on the road when this unfortunate accident happened.”
Isah noted further that “as humans, we share in the pain of losing loved ones. Let me use this opportunity to call on @KNingi.1d and indeed other social media users to be careful, and always verify their stories before posting or tweeting on social media especially when it concerns serious issue like losing human life.
“Let me once again extend the condolences of the Service to the families of the deceased and pray for safety for every traveler.”