Some officials of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Ogun State Command, on Tuesday engaged in a gun battle with smugglers along Ota-Idiroko road.
A witness said crisis erupted when some customs officials tried to stop a well-known smuggler identified as Sherif. The officials shot and killed Sherif at Ola junction, Onibuku along Ota-Idiroko road, during the shootout, the witness said.
Sherif and his fellow smugglers were allegedly smuggling rice, turkey and other items from Benin Republic through the border when they were accosted.
The witness, a resident of the area, said Sherif and his gang are known to always bribe compromised customs officials to ensure easy smuggling until Tuesday’s action.
Following the killing of Sherif, there was a mob action as some of protesters went on rampage, setting the Customs Hilux van and office along Idi-Iroko road ablaze.
The mob also allegedly wounded some Customs officers, who were shielded by combined security officials including the police and the Nigerian Navy.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Customs in Ogun, Abdullahi Maiwada, said the violence started when Customs officials intercepted the smugglers with their products. He said the smugglers attacked the officials before the latter fought back.
“We intercepted a Mazda vehicle with registration number KTU 504 AN carrying 45 bags of smuggled rice, and also a Passat vehicle with 28 cartons of smuggled turkey,” he said.
“But in a reprisal attack, the smugglers mobilised themselves and destroyed our official vehicle which was set ablaze, and also destroyed personal vehicles of our men. They also destroyed the command post at Atan junction.”
The spokesperson said he could not confirm any death and that investigation was still ongoing.