Scores of hoodlums on Tuesday attacked officials of the Nigeria Customs Service in Abeokuta, Ogun State trying to arrest a suspected rice smuggler.
The assailants were joined by commercial motorcyclists in the attack which occurred around 2p.m at the Ago-Ika axis of the town, in Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
A witness account said the Customs operatives had chased the suspect to the area in two operational vehicles marked: A-0-1-65 CS and A-0-1-44 CS when the hoodlums surfaced to prevent his arrest.
The hoodlums thereafter called for reinforcement from commercial motorcyclists towards ensuring that the smuggler’s vehicle was not towed away.
The witness added the hoodlums barricaded the road with several of their motorcycles, thereby preventing the Customs’ vehicles from gaining access to the rice-laden smuggler’s vehicle.
They also hauled pebbles at the Customs’ operatives who also called for reinforcement from their head office in Abeokuta.
The attackers threatened to burn down the customs vehicles, a development which caused anxiety among residents and passersby and brought vehicular movements to a halt between the popular Lafenwa market and Ago-Ika.
Customs’ spokesperson in the state, Abdulahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident and expressed dismay that some people could support a smuggler in such a manner.
He, however, appealed to members of the public to be aware of the damage being done to the nation’s economy by smuggling activities.