From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Three officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and a military personnel sustained gunshot wounds as hoodlums working with smugglers tried to resist the evacuation of seized items.
The attack occurred at about 6am Tuesday along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway after the officers, acting on intelligence, had intercepted six vehicles laden with foreign parboiled rice and were trying to move them to the customs warehouse.
In a statement, the unit’s Public Relations Officer, Theophilus Duniya, disclosed that at that point, “some armed hoodlums working with the smugglers swiftly mobilised and attacked our officers in their bid to prevent the seizure from being taken away.
“In the crossfire that ensued, our operatives overpowered them and were able to evacuate three of the intercepted vehicles to the warehouse.”
However, “three customs officers and a soldier sustained some bullet injuries from the attack.
The wounded officers are currently receiving treatment at our medical facility, while further investigation has commenced to bring the perpetrators of the attack to book.”
Following the attack, the Ag. Controller, DC Usman Yahaya, has expressed concern about the continued attack and injuries inflicted on officers on legitimate duties. According to him, the incident was totally avoidable if only the youths were patriotic enough to know that the officers were just performing their lawful duties.
He urged them to reject being used by economic saboteurs to confront customs operatives in their lawful duties, while thanking the law-abiding citizens who have been supporting the agency’s operations.