No fewer than three persons lost their lives on Thursday as Customs operatives attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service clashed with suspected smugglers at Iseyin area of Oyo State.
Customs Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Theophilus Duniya in a statement on Friday said the incident occurred after some dare devil smugglers attacked a patrol team over seizure of two Nissan Pathfinder SUVs loaded with foreign parboiled rice.
According to Duniya, the smugglerswere on the verge of abducting an injured officer after seizing his rifles during the attack before his team members acted in self defence to rescue their injured colleague.
He said, “At about 1500 hours of Thursday, 13th May, 2021 some dare devil smugglers mobilized themselves with the help of some thugs; attacked a patrol team serving with Federal Operations Unit Zone A, who were on lawful duty at Iseyin. 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 mobs that were mobilized by the smugglers.
“The mob attacked the officers with dangerous weapons which led to the infliction of serious injuries on two officers. The smugglers also attempted to abduct one of the officers that were brutally attacked and sustained deep cuts on his head and other parts of his body.
“The assailants had taken the injured officer with his rifle before his team members who acted in self defence, shot at his suspected abductors leading to the death of three of them before he was rescued and taken for immediate medical attention.
“The officers were able to successfully evacuate the intercepted smuggled rice, while the injured officers are currently receiving treatment.
“The Acting Controller of the Unit, DC Usman Yahaya, is sad about the avoidable incident and urges community leaders and parents to call their wards and youths to order. He laments 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 to extant rules, he assures of the resolve of his men to remain resolute on discharging their duties in the best interest of Nigerians.”