By Steve Agbota, Lagos
For the second time in two weeks, daredevil smugglers have attacked officers of the Federal Operations Unit (Zone A) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), injuring three officers.
In a press statement by the Unit’s Public Relations Officer, Theophilus Duniya, the smugglers mobilised mobs to attack their officers but they were able to repel the attack and move the intercepted smuggled items to the unit headquarters, Ikeja.
The statement reads: ‘This morning at about 500 hours on Wednesday, 17th February, daredevil smugglers attacked a patrol team of officers of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, who were on lawful duty.’
The officers who were on routine patrol intercepted vehicles fully loaded with smuggled frozen poultry products as well as foreign used vehicles also known as tokunbo along Aradagun end of Badagry- Seme expressway.
‘Our officers after an interception and attempt to evacuate the smuggled items to the office were attacked by mobs who were mobilized by the smugglers. The mobs attacked our officers with dangerous weapons such as broken bottles, stones, petrol bombs as well as assaulted rifles.
‘As the mob attack ensued, there was a cross-exchange of fire; three of our officers sustained various degrees of injuries, perhaps among the mob as well. The officers were able to successfully evacuate the intercepted poultry products to the Unit’s Headquarters at Ikeja, while the injured officers are currently receiving treatment,’ the statement read.
Duniya who said the acting controller of the unit, DC Usman Yahaya has ordered the intelligence unit to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack warned smugglers to desist from attacking customs officers on lawful duty.
‘The Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, has directed the intelligence unit of the Service to commence an investigation into the attack with the aim of apprehending the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
‘Community leaders and parents are hereby, enjoined to enlighten their wards and youths about the criminality of obstructing officers on lawful duty. Officers and men of the Unit shall remain resolute at enforcing the customs extant laws. We are better equipped and determined with high morale to enforce the fiscal policies of the government, no matter who is involved,’ he warned.