By Adejoke Adeleye, Abeokuta
Smugglers have engaged Customs officers and soldiers in a gun-battle in Ogun State, leading to the death of two smugglers.
Four customs officers, one soldier and five civilians were shot and injured during the gun-battle.
A statement issued by the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and signed by its spokesman, SC Hammed Bukoye Oloyede , said the Ogun I Command Customs and military personnel were on patrol to Oja-Odan, Yewa North of Ogun State when the shooting occurred.
He said “At about 20:00 of 6th of May, based on credible intelligence, the patrol team intercepted about 320 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each out of the large number stockpiled in a building around the said Oja-Odan area.
“During evacuation of the said rice, some die-hard smugglers aided by unscrupulous elements and hoodlums in their numbers and armed with sophisticated weapons shot and attacked the patrol team.
“They shot sporadically at officers. Unfortunately, four Customs operatives, one soldier and five civilians assisting in evacuation sustained gunshot injuries.”
Oloyede said they were immediately rushed to the hospital for proper medical attention and that they were currently responding to treatment.
He further said the patrol team repressed the attack by gunning down two of the hoodlums and left many others with gunshot injuries.
“The patrol team succeeded in evacuating the aforementioned items, arrested one suspect, Mr Taiye Kujo and six motorcycles used by the suspected smugglers, and conveyed all to the Customs House at Idiroko.”
“Investigation is ongoing to fish out more perpetrators of this barbaric act. In this regard, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Peter Kolo assured the general public that the renewed hostilities by armed smugglers will not deter our officers and men from discharging their statutory responsibilities,” he said.
Oloyede said Kolo appealed to traditional rulers and community leaders to warn their subjects to desist from smuggling activities and attack on security operative as anyone caught would be made to face the wrath of the law.