Two Feared Killed, As Suspected Smugglers Engage Customs In Gun Duel In Ogun - FIRST AWARENESS


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Two Feared Killed, As Suspected Smugglers Engage Customs In Gun Duel In Ogun

Controller General of Customs, Hameed Ali.

By Niyi Ogungbola

No fewer than two persons were reportedly killed, while unspecified numbers of people, including commuters sustained varying degrees of injuries as suspected smugglers engaged operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in a gun battle in Ogun State.

The incident, First Awareness gathered  occured at the Kobape village, along  Abeokuta - Sagamu expressway in Obafemi - Owode Local Government area of the state.

It was also learnt that,the incident happened when the suspected Smugglers allegedly   unleashed terror on Customs operatives from the Federal Operation Unit (F.O.U) performing the routine enforcement operation in the area.

The bloody clash, which started around 5p.m Saturday evening, left commuters and motorists stranded for more than 2-hours when vehicular movements were halted along the expressway due to the motorists who deserted the road for fear of being hit by stray bullets.

First Awareness learnt  that the NCS personnel had around 3p.m Saturday afternoon, intercepted some vehicles being used by the smugglers to convey large quantities of smuggled bags of foreign rice to an unknown destination, during which one of the drivers was equally arrested and whisked away.

An eye witness, who craved anonymity told  First Awareness that troubles started when the Customs' F.O.U operatives would neither release the arrested driver, not succumb to the settlement advances made by leaders of the smuggling syndicate.

Refusal of the NCS operatives however, allegedly infuriated the smugglers, who later turned the bargaining to violence, shooting one of the Customs personnel to death.

First Awareness further gathered that both sides suffered numbers of casualties in the melee that later ensued as three (3) operatives were dropped dead, while four members of the smuggling syndicate also paid with their lives.

Source close to the scene of the situation at Kobape Village Junction later said that the situation laterr snowballed into a mega war, whereby the smugglers camped against the NCS operatives, with each side scheming to overpower the other in a shooting range that lasted for about  2 to 3-hours.

It however, took the intervention of the combined security operatives, which included personnel of the Nigerian Army and the police to dislodge the smugglers in an intervention led by the Commissioner of Police in Ogun Command, Lanre Bankole.

When Contacted,  the NCS' Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the command, Theophilus Peter Duniya confirmed that only two Smugglers lost their lives while two Customs Operatives sustained serious injuries.

According to him,"Customs patrol team from Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Lagos was attacked without provocation on Saturday afternoon during an operation along Shagamu Inter-change in Ogun State.

"The patrol team had intercepted twelve vehicles of different kinds, laden with bags of foreign parboiled rice and were on their way to the government  warehouse before smugglers mobilized themselves with the support of their sympathizers and attacked the team with dangerous weapons.

"During the exchange of gun fire, two of the attackers lost their lives and one suspect was arrested. Out of 12 vehicles in the convoy of the smugglers , our operatives were able to leave with 4 of them laden with smuggled foreign parboiled rice

"The arrested suspect and the seizure have been brought to the Unit Headquarters, Ikeja.

"The Ag. Controller of the Unit, Hussein K Ejibunu frowned at the avoidable loss of lives due to the unprovoked attack. He has ordered full scale Investigations into the matter to apprehend other fleeing suspects with their smuggled wares.

"He cautioned the youths to eschew violent confrontations with government operatives and be law abiding at all times 

"He added that such violent attacks will never deter or threaten customs operatives from carrying out their legitimate duties"

"Two of our wounded operatives from the attack are presently receiving treatment in a medical facility."the Command PRO  Theophilus Duniuastressed.

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