From GBENGA ADESUYI, Ibadan
Five officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) were yesterday arraigned for killing a suspected smuggler in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The accused were arraigned before Justice S. A. Akinteye at the Oyo State High Court Six on a two-count charge. They were docked for allegedly killing one Sola Oguntade at Ilupeju/Bakatari area of Ibadan on February 27, 2011.
They all pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. At the hearing yesterday, a witness, Mr. Kayode Joseph, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Kayode Babalola, gave details of how the first accused person allegedly fired the shot that snuffed life out of the deceased. Joseph recalled that the five men were at their usual spot in front of a petrol station at Ilupeju along the Abeokuta/Ibadan Road on the fateful day. According to him, two of the men went for Muslim prayers as it was around 2:00 pm while two others stayed back in their official Toyota Hilux van.
The fifth, he added, withdrew to a nearby tree under which he was reading newspaper. Joseph said the first accused person was busy with his newspaper when the deceased drove to the area from the Abeokuta end of the road in a green Toyota Carina car when the first accused fired at him at about 100 feet to the point where the Customs men checked the unregistered vehicle. He further said the four other members of the Customs team quickly ran to the scene of the killing, picked the corpse and drove away with it and the car, with the impression that they were taking him to the hospital.