Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said its operatives acted in self defence when they came under attack by hoodlums on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Iseyin, Oyo State.
It was reported that four persons were killed when Customs personnel opened fire on them, but in a statement on Friday, May 14, the Customs Service said its personnel were attacked by smugglers and this prompted the need for self defence.
The Customs, in a statement made available by FOU Zone A’s Public Relations Officer, Theophilus Duniya, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs, said: “At about 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, 13th May, 2021, some daredevil smugglers mobilised themselves with the help of some thugs, attacked a patrol team serving with Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, who were on lawful duty in Iseyin.
“The officers, who were on routine patrol, intercepted two Nissan Pathfinder SUV vehicles, fully loaded with smuggled foreign parboiled rice in 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, which led to the infliction of serious injuries on two officers.”
The statement further revealed that the hoodlums tried to abduct one of the officers who had been injured on the head, while his rifle had also been taken, when the officer’s patrol team shot at the abductors, which then led to the death of three persons.
Duniya stated further that following the incident, the abducted officer was rescued and taken to the hospital for treatment.
He added: “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.”