In a clash over smuggled rice in Ogun, five persons were on Monday allegedly killed while two officers were injured in a face-off between officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and suspected smugglers Owode-Yewa.
According to the Leadership, the clash started when the officers of the Ogun State Customs command went to Owode-Yewa to evacuate some bags of rice smuggled into the country from Benin Republic and kept inside a celestial church at Owode Yewa, Ogun State.
According to an eye witness, Yinka Oladosu, there was a shoot-out between the smugglers and the customs officers due to confrontation from the smugglers which led to the death of five while several others were injured and taken to hospital.
But, in a press statement by the Public Relation Officer of the Ogun command of the service, Abdullahi Maiwada said smugglers and criminal ganged up to mob officers of the command who were on legal duty.
According to Maiwada, two officers were wounded while patrol vehicles were destroyed by the smugglers.
The press statement reads,
“Unfortunately, at about 1200hours 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 PRO also stated that the hoodlums barricaded the road leading to the command and officers of the service.
He however commended the role played by other security agencies who according to Maiwada came to the aide of the command during the melee.
“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.