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Customs raids smugglers’ hideouts in Lagos, Ogun arrests 5 suspects

Customs raids smugglers’ hideouts in Lagos, Ogun arrests 5 suspects

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Tuesday said that it has arrested five suspected smugglers after it raided some criminal hideouts in Lagos and Ogun states.

The raids may not be unconnected to the killing of Customs officers by suspected smugglers at Owode-Idiroko end of Ogun State.

The Unit said that over N116 million worth of contraband allegedly being smuggled into Nigeria through unapproved routes in Ogun State, were also seized during the 10 days operation.

Items seized include bags of rice, vegetable oil, used tyres, second-hand clothing, and frozen poultry products and among others.

Read also: Multiple Customs checks, agencies’ interference stifle businesses at ports

Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, Customs Area Controller of FOU Zone A, told newsmen in Lagos, that he will evoke the rules of engagement governing the use of firearms over the continuous harassment and killings of Customs officers by suspected smugglers.

Ejibunu pointed out that Customs officers can no longer fold their hands and watch while their colleagues are being slaughtered like goats by criminals who ambush them while on duty.

“Barely 24 hours when I assumed duty as the controller of FOU Zone A, I was greeted by the news of the killing of an officer at Owode-Idiroko by suspected smugglers. I have met with traditional rules in the area over the killing. As if that was not enough, two of my men were also matched by smugglers. The good thing is that they are responding to treatment in the hospital,” he explained.

According to him, NCS was not responsible for banning certain items from coming into the country neither is it responsible for making laws; rather , the job of Customs is simply to implement the government’s fiscal policies and laws.

On the involvement of military and para-military men in smuggling, he said he would soon meet with the General Officer Commanding (GOC),81 Division of the Nigerian Army, and the Commissioners of Police, Lagos and Ogun States to address the issue.