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One feared killed in customs, smugglers’ face off

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It was pandemonium in Owode, Yewa area of Ogun State yesterday as some hoodlums suspected to be smugglers allegedly launched a reprisal attack on officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) who had besieged the area to seize loads of suspected smuggled goods.

The Guardian gathered that at least one person was feared killed during the clash, while three Customs officers were said sustained various degrees of injuries.

The smugglers had hid the items fully loaded in several vehicles at a Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Owode 1 Circuit parish, but the efforts of the Customs to evacuate the goods were met by stiff resistance by the irate youths, suspected to have been mobilized by smugglers who attacked the officers with dangerous weapons, stones, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons on Monday.

The youths however mobilized yesterday for a reprisal attack on any Customs officer on sight, claiming that the officers had killed one of them, identified as Kunle in the face-off on Monday.

Customs Public Relations Officer, Ogun Area Command, Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, who declined comment on any loss of live in the ensued gunfire, said two officers sustained injuries while one other sustained minor injury.

He said: “Unfortunately, at about 12.pm of Monday afternoon (21st January, 2019), some smugglers and their accomplices gang-up against an Anti-smuggling Team from discharging its legitimate functions at Owode, Yewa community.”

The officers who went on an operation to save Nigerian economy from the mayhem of smugglers who stocked a place of worship and some houses nearby with rice suspected to have been smuggled into Nigeria.

“The team faced stiff resistance from some armed criminals inflicting serious injuries on two officers and minor injuries on other members of the team, and further destroyed official patrol vehicles.

“The encounter led to exchange of fire between officers and smugglers with their accomplices. For peace to reign, the team resorted to tactical withdrawal. However, the hoodlums took laws into their hands by barricading the main road leading to Idiroko, looking for Customs Officers to attack. They are also battling with law enforcement agencies to gain access to Customs formations for further confrontation.

“We wish to commend the patriotic roles of our sister Agencies and law abiding citizens in assisting the Command to achieve 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 fight the anti-smuggling crusade against all odds,” he said.


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