Hoodlums chase Nigeria Customs away from checkpoints and patrol bases in Ogun State
Hoodlums and smugglers chased men of the Nigeria Customs Service away from their checkpoints, patrol bases and outstations in Ihunbo, Ilaro and Imeko in Ogun State on Thursday.
The smugglers who were reportedly armed with weapons invaded all the NCS checkpoints and outstations in the Ipokia, Yewa North and Imeko-Afon Local Government Areas of Ogun State and set ablaze Customs officers’ tents.
They were said to have smuggled in bags of rice from a neighbouring country into Nigeria after chasing away the custom officers.
According to an eyewitness, the hoodlums went into jubilation after chasing the Customs officials from their checkpoints.
“They were many, carrying bags of rice and contraband goods into the country,” the eyewitness said per Punch.
“They were armed with cutlasses and guns, but there was no shooting,
“The Customs men fled their duty posts and took cover. As I speak to you, the smuggling has been ongoing for over four hours.
“The atmosphere was just like people celebrating the overthrow of a government. You cannot separate the smugglers from hoodlums and businessmen; they were celebrating the fact that Customs are off the road. It is either the border was opened to them or they opened it themselves.”
The Public Relations Officer, NCS, Ogun Command 1, Hammed Oloyede who confirmed the incident said the hoodlums attacked the NCS patrol bases, checkpoints and outstations under the disguise of protesting against brutality by security agents in the state.
“Hoodlums attacked our checkpoints, patrol bases and outstations; they have burnt our tents. Smuggling is going on in broad daylight and our officers are getting attacked in Ihunbo, Ilaro and Imeko,” Oloyede said.
“We are looking at them now because if we engage them, the narrative will be Customs are killing people because of what is going on at the moment. Truly, they are hoodlums, but no one will believe us if we take action.
“We got information that they are coming to attack us in Idi-Iroko. There is no report yet at Ipokia.”
Oloyede further disclosed that the hoodlums attempted to attack the customs warehouse at the border, but they were resisted. He said his efforts to reach out to two prominent monarchs in the areas to caution their subjects proved abortive.