Two Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) officers were on Friday injured when hoodlums, sponsored by suspected smugglers, attacked a Customs patrol team that was escorting seized smuggled rice from Ilaro with bottles, cutlasses, sticks and other dangerous items at Papalanto area of Ogun State.
A statement obtained and signed on Friday by the Ogun Customs command Spokesman, Abdullahi Maiwada, indicated that it took the intervention of men of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to restore normalcy at the scene of the confrontation.
Maiwada added: “Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun command, while escorting seized smuggled rice from Ilaro navigating to Abeokuta Government Warehouse for safe keeping on Friday at about 08:00hours were obstructed by a group of hoodlums who pelted our personnel with stones, bottles, cutlasses, sticks, and other dangerous items.
“Our officers restrained themselves by controlling the situation, short of using force. On the arrival of reinforcement teams from the army, police, Federal Operations Unit and Command teams, the hoodlums were overpowered but not before serious injuries were inflicted on two Customs personnel who are currently responding to treatment in the hospital.
“In the face of the provocative hostility, officers tactically succeeded in securing the seizures out of the scene in a professional manner thereby avoiding any loss of life,” he added.
He also said the seized items had been secured with three suspects currently undergoing interrogation at the Customs Command Headquarters.
Recall that an officer attached to the command, Inspector of Custom Abdullahi Kuso, was almost lynched at the same location (Papalanto) on July 7, 2018, by a group of criminals.
Said he: “Finally, we wish to commend the patriotic roles of our sister agencies and law-abiding citizens in assisting the command to perform its lawful duty of revenue collection and suppression of smuggling in the interest of our dear country.
“We wish to categorically state that we will continue to prosecute the anti-smuggling crusade in spite of the unwarranted attacks. We want to use this medium to advise parents/guardians to warn their wards to desist from obstructing Customs officers performing their legitimate duties as the service will not hesitate to use appropriate force in the interest of the nation.”