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Residents set Customs vehicles ablaze after causing four deaths in Sokoto accident

Angry residents of a community near the Nigeria Customs Service checkpoint in Sokoto on Sunday set ablaze two vehicles belonging to the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) following the killing of four persons in an auto crash in the state.

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The fatal accident occurred in the early hours of Sunday at a checkpoint mounted by personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service, Asara unit of Illela Border Command in Sokoto state.

Eyewitness at the scene said the affected vehicles- two Toyota Avenses and a Golf Salon collided while trying to evade a stop and search of the customs officials at the checkpoint.

One of the drivers involved, according to the source, was alleged to have loaded some contraband goods that included rice and vegetable oil and was trying to evade arrest.

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“One of the drivers was carrying goods like rice and vegetables from the Illela border and eventually ran into a customs checkpoint located at Asara village.

“They (customs) obstructed the driver in a bid to stop the vehicle for a search and that caused the driver to lose control. The car ran into an oncoming vehicle and had a head-on collision while the one coming from the back crashed in between the two.

Four persons were confirmed dead on the spot in two of the vehicles while six people sustained various injuries during the accident.

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The injured persons were later taken to Gwandabawa General Hospital for medical attention.

The development, according to the eyewitness, angered the nearby villagers who set ablaze two vehicles belonging to the customs officials.

It took the intervention of the men of the Nigerian Army who were drafted to the scene to prevent further attacks against the customs’ facilities in the area.

Confirming the incident, Customs spokesman in the state, Tahir Balarabe described the incident as unfortunate.

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He added that two vehicles belonging to the Customs service and an officer in charge of the unit were burnt by the angry mob.

Balarabe maintained that the officials were only carrying out their legitimate duties by preventing the entrance of contraband into the country as stipulated by the Customs and Excise law.

“It is unfortunate that the mob carried out an attack against the officials who were only trying to prevent contraband into the country by some suspected smugglers.”Mr. Balarabe said.

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He said the Nigeria Customs service would continue to be up right in carrying out it’s constitutional .

He however prayed for the reposed of the souls of those who loss their lives in the accident.

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Written by Adesoji OMOSEBI

BSc Agric Science

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