One dead as Customs, hoodlums clash in Ogun

Many people, including two officers and other members of the enforcement team of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, were injured in a clash that occurred on Tuesday between the Customs personnel and hoodlums in the Owode Yewa area of Ogun State.

According to eyewitnesses, trouble started on Monday night when the Customs operatives went to raid a place of worship and some houses in the community, which they suspected as being used as stores for smuggled rice.

The team was said to have faced stiff resistance from the hoodlums, which led to the exchange of fire.

In the process, the officers and other members of the team were said to have suffered injuries, while some of their patrol vehicles were destroyed.

Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command, NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, stated that the Customs personnel withdrew from the scene on Monday night but some people later barricaded the road leading to Idiroko and attacked the team.

Maiwada said the hoodlums battled law enforcement agents to gain access to Customs formations for further confrontation.

In their defence, some youths in the area, who were said to have set up bonfire and blocked the road, on Tuesday, explained that the Customs operatives shot and killed one Kunle after the youths tried to stop them from carrying out a raid on the Celestial Church of Christ in the community.

“They wanted to ransack the house of God, but we stopped them and they started shooting. One of our colleagues, Kunle, was shot dead. We mobilised today (Tuesday) to teach them a lesson,” one of the aggrieved youths told our correspondent.

On Sunday, January 6, 2019, the Ogun State Command of the NCS lost an officer, who sustained machete cuts from suspected smugglers.

According to Maiwada, the January 6 incident paved the way for concerted efforts by the command to inform and educate the public on the menace of smuggling and the implication of conspiring against the service.

“Finally, we wish to commend the patriotic roles of our sister agencies and law-abiding citizens in assisting the command to carry out 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 carry out the anti-smuggling crusade against all odds,” a statement from the command read on Tuesday.

When contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he had not received any report about death in the community as a result of the clash.

He, however, declined further comments, saying that the matter was a Customs affair and the police would not like to interfere as the NCS had already issued a statement on the incident.