By DAPO OLAWUNI
Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service Joint Border Drill in Ogun State have killed a man, Tunde Alabe, alleged to be a smugglers, while he alongside his gang were trying to smuggle several kegs of petroleum products across the land border.
In a statement issued by the Ogun 1 Command of Customs, Idiroko, signed by the Public Relations Officer, Hammed Bukoye Oloyede, the fracas that ensued afterwards have led to burning of houses, patrol vans and other valuable properties belonging to the government.
According to him, the customs officers stationed at Olajogun in Oja-Odan area of Ilaro intercepted several kegs of 25 litres capacity of Petroleunm Motor Spirit (PMS) destined for smuggling outside Nigeria.
“In an attempt to seize the said petroleum products obviously in contravention with schedule six (6) of Common External Tariff, some smugglers armed with assorted dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, guns and charms unleashed deadly attack against lawful Officers leading to a crossfire.
“In the ensuing exchange of fire between smugglers and the patrol team, one Tunde Alabe (male), a native of Ohunbe community also involved in the attack sustain a gun injury leading to his untimely death.
“This unfortunate incident led to the blockage of Oja-Odan/Obelle Road by a syndicated armed smugglers/hoodlums. They further advanced there hostilities by burning down all Customs Checkpoints and that of sister security agencies from Olajogun to Hanger and Ohunbe Areas of Ogun state.
“As at the time of writing this report, the properties and items destroyed by the smugglers/hoodlums include:
1. Two (2) Customs Patrol Toyota Hilux
2. One (1) patrol Toyota Hilux belonging to Nigeria Immigration
3. One (1) Mercedes Benz SUV
4. One (1) Peugeot 206
5. Four (4) Motorcycles belonging to Nigeria Immigration
6. Original credentials and other documents belonging to Two (2) Customs personnel
7. Two (2) buildings and many other patrol points”
Oloyede, a Deputy Supretendent of Customs assured that the Customs Area Controller, Compt. Peter Chado Kolo has vowed to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident and promised to bring the perpetrators of this evil act to book.
He further appealed to traditional rulers, opinion moulders and eminent personalities on the need to dissuade our teaming youths from seeing smuggling as means of livelihood.