LASTMA Attack: Erring Customs officers to face disciplinary action

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday expressed displeasure over the conduct of some of its operatives who allegedly attacked officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA).

National Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Wale Adeniyi, in a statement he sent to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday said that the Service would not condone any act of indiscipline by its operatives.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi CFR has been drawn to the unfortunate incident, allegedly between the men of the Service and officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA)

“While sympathizing with the LASTMA officials who suffered injuries or embarrassment as a result of the avoidable incidence, the Service wishes to condemn in strong terms, the attack on officials of agencies, especially government agencies discharging their legitimate functions.

“It is worrisome to us that the barbaric action was said to have been perpetrated by officers wearing customs uniform in official vehicle. This act is not permissible under our laws and therefore will not be tolerated. We believe that efforts geared towards ensuring sanity on our roads will reduce accidents and impact positively on trade facilitation.

“Accordingly the Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi CFR has directed that all the Officers and Men involved in this shameful act be placed on “standby” while a thorough investigation to determine their culpability has already commenced.

“Any officer found guilty will be dealt with decisively in accordance with the Preventive Service’s regulations.

“NCS is a disciplined and self respecting organization that seeks to create synergy among other partner Government Agencies for the common goal of attaining a better society.

“For the avoidance of doubt NCS wishes to assure the Lagos State Government, officials of LASTMA in particular, and people of goodwill that the Service will not gloss over this but will do all it takes to ensure that the rights of people who are performing their statutory functions are protected.”

Some officials of the NCS reportedly unleashed havoc on the Mile 2 office of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), vandalising four vehicles among other valuables, in a bid to release an impounded vehicle.

It was learnt that a LASTMA official, Musiliu Edu, and a police corporal, Saliu Isiaka, were beaten for recording the incident with their mobile phones.

Another official, Wensu Idowu, was reportedly hospitalised, after he was hit with the butt of a gun in the mouth, while the crisis raged.

It was learnt that a Honda Pilot, marked, EKY 521 CZ, and belonging to a senior customs official, had been impounded by LASTMA operatives on Tuesday morning.

The driver of the vehicle was said to be driving against traffic at the Coconut area of Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

An hour after the arrest, the customs officials in a convoy of three patrol vehicles, reportedly stormed the Mile 2 office and started inflicting injuries on LASTMA officials.

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