The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Zone A, Ikeja says no life was lost in its officers’ encounter with an alleged rice smuggler in the early hours of Wednesday in Lagos.
The Public Relations Officer of the unit, Mr Jerry Attah, in a statement same day, said the unit was responding to media reports that some officers of the FOU Zone A shot an unknown smuggler whose bus was conveying smuggled rice at Abule Egba Area of Lagos.
Attah said, “On Jan. 17, 2018 (today), at about 05.30hrs, operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, acting on a tip-off, traced one LT Bus Loaded with unspecified bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice from Sango Area and eventually stopped it at Abule Egba.
“Before he was finally halted at Abule Egba, the driver started shouting and making inciting comments that attracted mob action against the officers with different dangerous weapons such as broken bottles, stones and cutlasses.
“Obviously, he had driven to where he could get his associates to help attack the Customs Officers.
“Given support of the mob, he resisted lawful arrest and the other armed operatives fired shots in the air to disperse the raging mob but to no avail.
“As a responsible organisation, the officers retracted back to avoid any casualty.
“We appreciate and thank God that no life was lost as at the time of the confrontation, even though two of our officers sustained injuries.”
The statement, however, maintained that “for the avoidance of doubt, the fact that a smuggler has evaded scrutiny either by following an unapproved route or compromising any officer does not guarantee that the smuggled item will not be seized anywhere it is found by patrol officers whose duty is to ensure compliance.’’(NAN)