Less than a week after vehicle dealers attacked officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in Kaduna burning their patrol van, officers of the service once again came under another attack in the hands of daredevil smugglers in Ogun.
In this renewed attack at the Toll-gate end of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, operational vehicle of the service was damaged and burnt beyond recognition.
Speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity, one of the affected officers who said he escaped death by whisker said about five of his colleagues are missing in action.
Narrating his ordeals to our correspondent, the officers said they were on a routine patrol when they accosted and seized three vehicles laden with frozen chickens and foreign parboiled rice.
He said, “We are on a routine patrol this morning (yesterday) when we saw three vehicles filled with poultry products and foreign parboiled rice. We impounded the vehicles and on our way to the office we were attacked by smugglers and a vehicle with frozen chickens which one of our Officer was driving was attacked and let loose.”
The officer who told me correspondent that he escaped by whisker said his colleague who drove the contraband-laden vehicle had to take refuge at the nearest police station when he was attacked.
“One of the vehicles was rescued by the smugglers and one of our officers was the one driving it. He had to take refuge in a nearest police station else he would have been killed.”
Explaining further, on how the Customs vehicle was burnt, he said, “After taking the contraband to the office, the CG compliance team was on patrol when they ran into the mob and were attacked.”
He disclosed further that the officers who had no fore knowledge of the earlier incident were attacked and their vehicles burnt.
“The officers that were attacked are on routine patrol when they ran into the mob, they were not the first crop of officers who impounded the frozen poultry products and foreign rice.”
He however disclosed that no one knows the whereabout of the officers.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, FOU A, Jerry Attah confirmed the attack on Customs officers.
Attah said, “Our officers were ambushed and attacked on their way to the office after making the seizures of frozen chickens and imported rice.”
Attah also confirmed to our correspondent that a customs patrol vehicle was burnt and officers were mobbed.
“The CG compliance team were on a routine patrol and they ran into the mob who attacked and burnt their patrol van. Presently, we don’t know the status of the officers.”
Attah also stated that the remaining two vehicles laden with rice and frozen foods are in their custody.
“Two out of three vehicles laden with rice and vehicles chicken are in our custody. One Mazda 626- KTU504AL and Volkswagen with no plate number is presently in our warehouse.”
Attah also said that Customs checkpoints at Stan, Ota in Ogun State were also attacked by the smugglers.
“Customs checkpoint at Atan gas been attacked but Investigations is ongoing to determine the whereabout of our Officers,” he said on phone.