Suspected hoodlums attack customs officers escorting seized smuggled rice

Customs Officer that was attacked by thugs
Customs Officer that was attacked by thugs

Suspected hoodlums on Friday morning attacked officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun State Command, who were escorting seized smuggled rice from Ilaro to Abeokuta Government Warehouse.

The attackers pelted the customs personnel with stones, bottles, cutlasses, sticks and other dangerous items, the agency said in a statement.

According to the service, the attackers almost overpowered their personnel but for the timely intervention of other customs officials and military officers.

Abdullahi Maiwada, the spokesperson of the command, said the agency’s officers ‘restrained’ themselves during the attack and did not use force.

“On the arrival of reinforcement teams from 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,” Mr Maiwada said.

“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.”

The incident came weeks after a customs officer fatally shot a man during a stop-and-search operation along the Sagamu Interchange in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

The agency said it had since begun an investigation into the incident, starting with the interrogation of the officers involved in the shooting.

After the latest confrontation between the alleged hoodlums and customs officials, Mr Maiwada said normalcy had been restored after the intervention of reinforcement teams from customs, police and military.

“Also, the seized items have been secured with three suspects currently undergoing interrogation at Customs Command Headquarters.

“Nigerians will recall that an officer attached to the Command, Inspector of Custom Abdullahi Kuso was almost lynched at the same location (Papalanto) on 7th July 2018 by a group of criminals who perceive smuggling as a legitimate way of livelihood,” Mr Maiwada said.

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