Residents of Mowo and Aradagun communities in Badagry area of Lagos State were at the weekend thrown into panic as men of the Nigeria Customs and suspected smugglers engaged themselves in a fierce gun battle.
Traders at Mowo Bus Stop were mostly affected, as the scene of the confrontation was not far from the market where they scampered for safety, leaving their wares behind, while residents and shop owners along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway locked their shops and fled to safety.
According to an eyewitness, trouble started when smugglers tried to drive in three lorry loads of rice but met stiff resistance from the Custom officials who fired sporadic shots to halt the progress of the lorries.
The suspected smugglers, who were bent on beating the Customs checkpoint, went through another route but were accosted at Mowo Junction, where the shooting started.
By 1pm on Friday, however, normalcy had returned to the market.
Some of the market women said the gun battle took them by surprise but they had to run for cover to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
They, however, called for a better way of curtailing the activities of smugglers, noting that innocent lives could be lost in a commando-like operation, just like the one witnessed at the weekend.
The lorries seized from the smugglers were spotted at Agbara Custom’s checkpoint with three escort vans.