The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, (Zone A) on Tuesday arraigned two alleged smugglers before Magistrate Y.A. Aje-Afunwa of the Magistrate Court, Ikeja, Lagos State on nine (9) counts charge of smuggling prohibited items.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Jerry Attah, the two suspects have been remanded in Ikoyi Prison awaiting trial as the case was adjourned to February 15, 2017.
Badejogbin David ESQ who led the legal team of the Nigeria Customs Service prayed that the court expedite the legal proceedings to serve as deterrent to others.
Attah said: “You will recall that on Thursday 13 October 2016, our field operatives while on a tip off trailed some smugglers to Alakuko /Kola Junction area of Agege Lagos and intercepted two vehicles laden with smuggled rice.
“However, while taking the seized goods to the office, one of the suspects incited a mob attack against our operatives who were armed with various dangerous weapons such as guns, cutlasses, broken bottle, sticks, stones among others, which resulted to a shoot out between our men and the smugglers.
“While some of these hoodlums confronted our operatives, others rescued one of the arrested vehicles loaded with smuggled rice. Only the intervention of our reinforcement saved one of the vehicles, and ensured the arrest of a suspect. The professional conduct of our operatives prevented a complete breakdown of law and order or serious fatalities in a densely populated area.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the fact that a smuggler has evaded scrutiny either by following unapproved route or compromising any operatives does not guarantee that the smuggled item will not be seized anywhere it is found by patrol officers whose duty is to ensure compliance”
The Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru commended the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Fatai Owoseni for his “prompt deployment of his men to stop what would have caused serious tensions and casualties”.