Hoodlums suspected to be smugglers have attacked operatives of the Ogun Customs Area Command, inflicting various degrees of injuries on the operatives who were on routine anti-smuggling patrol at Owode, Yewa area of Ogun state.
The hoodlums were also said to be on rampage scouting for customs officers to unleash mayhem on even as they engaged other security agents in exchange of gunfire.
This is coming barely two weeks after smugglers killed a customs officer while another was injured in an ambush in Asero community in Abeokuta.
Public Relations Officer of the command, Aliyu Maiwada, in a statement said the attack which occured on Monday was a gang up against the anti smuggling operatives having sensed that suspected smuggled rice stocked in worship centre and other nearby houses had been discovered.
He said the team faced stiff resistance from the ‘armed criminals’ who inflicted serious injuries on two officers and minor injuries on other members of the team, and further destroyed official patrol vehicles.
“At about 1200 hours of Monday afternoon (21st January, 2019), some smugglers and their accomplices ganged-up against an anti-smuggling team from discharging its legitimate functions at Owode (Yewa) community.
“The officers who went on an operation to save Nigerian economy from the mayhem of smugglers who stocked a place of worship and some houses nearby with rice suspected to have been smuggled into Nigeria.
“The team faced stiff resistance from some armed criminals inflicting serious injuries on two officers and minor injuries on other members of the team, and further destroyed official patrol vehicles.
“The encounter led to exchange of fire between officers and smugglers with their accomplices.
“For peace to reign, the team resorted to tactical withdrawal. However, the hoodlums took law into their hands by barricading the main road leading to Idiroko, scouting for customs Officers to attack.
“They are also battling with law enforcement agencies to gain access to Customs formations for further confrontation.
“Finally, we wish to commend the patriotic roles of our sister agencies and law abiding citizens in assisting the command to achieve its lawful duty of revenue collection and suppression of smuggling in the interest of our dear country.
“We wish to categorically state that we will continue to fight the anti-smuggling crusade against all odds,” the statement said.