The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, on Friday confirmed the death of three persons while repelling smugglers’ attempt to abduct an officer on duty
No fewer than four persons were hit on Thursday in Iseyin area of Oyo state when customs officers shot sporadically in the air after intercepting smuggled goods coming through the borders.
The Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, who confirmed this in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, DSC Theophilus Duniya explained that the futile abduction incident occurred around 3.00 pm, on May 13, in Iseyin.
Yahaya said this was sequel to attack by some dare devil smugglers, accompanied by thugs who attacked a patrol team serving with the unit at Iseyin, Oyo State.
“The officers, who were on routine patrol, intercepted two Nissan Pathfinder SUV vehicles fully loaded with smuggled foreign parboiled rice at Iseyin.
“Sequel to the interception, the officers were attacked by a mob who were mobilised by the smugglers.
“The mob attacked the officers with dangerous weapons, inflicting serious injuries on two officers and attempted to abduct the officer, who was brutally attacked.
“The assailants had taken the injured officer with his rifle before his team members, who acted in self-defence, shot at his suspected abductors.
“This led to the death of three of them before he was rescued and taken for immediate medical attention,” he said.
Yahaya noted that the officers successfully evacuated the intercepted smuggled rice, while the injured officers were receiving treatment.
He expressed sadness over the avoidable incident and urged community leaders and parents to call their wards and youths to order.
The official lamented the criminality of obstructing and attacking officers on lawful duty, describing it as a venture that yields no good for all, including the Service.
While appealing for compliance with extant rules, he assured of the resolve of his men to remain resolute on discharging their duties in the best interest of Nigerians.
It would be recalled that the Maritime First had earlier reported that the community had blamed the Service, for the deaths, via stray bullets, and insisting that those killed were Sallah merry makers, not smugglers or thugs.