The unending clash between men of Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operation Unit, FOU, Ikeja, and smugglers in Ogun State manifested again, yesterday, at Sango Tollgate end of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in Ado-Odo-Ota Local Government Area, leaving one of the smugglers dead.
Vanguard gathered that the clash occurred when smugglers ambushed a convoy of Customs vehicles, which was carrying seized 45 bags of rice and 258 cartons of turkey, said to have been smuggled in through the Republic of Benin, to the Customs warehouse in Lagos. An eyewitness told Vanguard that there was confusion at the tollgate as traders and passers-by scampered for safety when the Customs men and smugglers engaged themselves in a gun battle.
After the dust was settled, it was discovered that one person, a suspected smuggler, was dead. Vanguard further gathered that the hoodlums, who were said to have been irked by the death of their own, whose identify could not be ascertained at press time, stormed the Customs checkpoint at Atan area along Sango-Idi Iroko Road. They destroyed five vehicles belonging to Customs and civilians at the checkpoint. Contacted, the Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command of Nigeria Customs, Abdulahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident.
Maiwada said one officer was attacked by the hoodlums and was lying critically ill at a hospital, while five vehicles were vandalised and one burnt to ashes. The Public Relations Officer said three of the affected vehicles belonged to Customs, while two others belonged to private individuals. He stated that the smugglers, driving a Mazda car with number plates KTU 504 AM, and an unregistered Passat car, were transporting 45 bags of rice and 258 cartons of turkey when they were intercepted by the FOU team.
The PRO confirmed the death of one person, but said the person that fired the shot that killed the victim was yet to be established. He, however, said that the Customs operatives were able to transport the seized goods to the warehouse in Ikeja. Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that the suspected smuggler was killed during a gun battle. He said that the police had, however, restored peace in the area and prevented the loss of innocent lives. He added that investigation into the incident had commenced.