By Innocent Orok
The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command has explained the reason behind the shooting by its officers which has gone viral on the social media.
In a statement issued by the Command’s Public Relations Officer , HAMMED BUKOYE OLOYEDE, a Superintendent of Customs ( SC) said the officers acted in self defence, during the process of evacuating seized contraband goods, which the smugglers have mobilize to attack the officers.
According to the statement titled “RE: VIRAL VIDEO OF SPORADIC SHOOTING BY OPERATIVES OF THE NIGERIA CUSTOMS SERVICE OGUN 1 AREA COMMAND”, the PRO explained:
“On Saturday, 16th of December, 2023, along the Lanfewa/Enu gada axis of Ogun State, the operatives of Ogun 1 Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, while evacuating some smuggled goods from 2 faulty vehicles used as means of conveyance, came under attack by hoodlums who were suspected to have been mobilized by the smugglers of the unwholesome goods.
“The seriousness of the attack and the threat to officers’ lives led to a call for reinforcement. During the melee that ensued at about 0715 hours of that day, our operatives repelled the attack to safeguard their lives. They left the scene with the secured seizure and prevented the hoodlums from further attack till they finally exited the area. The seizure was successfully conveyed to the Government Warehouse at Customs House, Abeokuta, without any casualty.
” I would like to state emphatically that the Command under the leadership of the Ag. Customs Area Controller Ahmadu Shuaibu values the lives of its host communities and frowns at the arbitrary use of firearms. However, in situations with a severe threat to life, the rules of engagement must be evoked for self-protection.
“The Command regrets the compelling and unfortunate situation that might have put the residents of the said axis and the general public in fear. While carrying out our lawful duty, we shall not renege in our effort to ensure the safety of the good people of Ogun State. Our operatives shall continue to operate within the ambit of the law and in conformity with the rules of engagement.
” It is pertinent to inform you that the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023 frowns at obstruction, molestation, or assaults of officers on lawful duty, with the infliction of punishment on offenders such as conviction to a fine of five million Naira, and imprisonment for 5 years or both. Also, Section 226 of the NCSA empowers Customs operatives to carry out patrols freely, which applies to our anti-smuggling operations in Ogun State”, the release stared.