By Toni Ufoh
An officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service, identified simply as Lamba, has been accused of shooting a protester, Jacob Bamgbola, to death in the Idigbo community, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Bamgbola was conveying his sister’s daughter on a motorcyclist to a destination in the community when some immigration officers manning a checkpoint on the expressway stopped him along the Ijowun end of the Idiroko Expressway and demanded N200 before allowing him to continue his journey.
Our correspondent learnt that Bamgbola refused to accede to the officers’ request, noting that he did nothing wrong to warrant him being allegedly extorted of N200.
The situation led to an argument and while some of the officers were busy interrogating other motorists, Benjamin took advantage of the fact that much attention was not on him and zoomed off.
On getting to his sister’s place, Bamgbola dropped his niece and proceeded to inform some youths in the community about his encounter with the immigration officers.
A source in the community told our correspondent that the youths, some of whom had also experienced similar encounters bordering on alleged extortion by immigration officers on the road, mobilised other youths to the house of a chief in the community, Moses Faleye, to protest about the development.
The source said during the protest, the immigration officers stormed the premises and while trying to disperse the protesters, allegedly shot Bamgbola dead.
He said, “Bamgbola went to carry his sister’s daughter and on his way back, he met immigration officers on the road. Those officers are always there at the checkpoint. They stopped him and wanted to collect N200 from him but he refused.
“He told them that he is a son of Otun village and why should he pay them anything. After he left, he complained to some youths and the youths mobilised themselves to the Baale’s house to register their grievances over the activities of the officers.
“But within some minutes, the immigration officers came in a van and while the Baale was trying to calm the situation, they started shooting and in the process, one of them known as Lamba shot Bamgbola. The youths were rushing Bamgbola to the hospital when he died.”
The head of the vigilance group in the town, Adesina Alabi, while complaining about the development, said security personnel were fond of extorting money from road users along the road.
“Just come to this side of the road and see how police, Customs officers, immigration officers, and others would just mount roadblocks and extort money from motorists. It is becoming too much,” he said.
Falaye, when contacted, said the events that claimed Bamgbola’s life was unfortunate, adding that the matter should have been settled amicably.
He said, “It happened in front of my house. Youths in the town came to register their displeasure over the activities of the immigration officers in our community.
“While I was trying to placate them, some immigration officers came and when they saw the youths, they started to shoot in the air. In the process, one person was hit by the bullet and he died.
“After the incident, the case was reported at the Igbokofi Police Station and the policemen came with cameras and they took statements from us.”
The state Police Public Relations, SP Omolola Odutola, told our correspondent that she was not aware of the case but promised to find out and get back to our correspondent.
She had yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.
Contacted, the spokesperson for the NIS in the state, Olajide Oshifeso, said, “The matter is already being investigated and when it is completed, details of the matter would be made public.”