By Steve Agbota
The Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, yesterday, said it has arrested five suspected smugglers while conducting a series of covert operations on criminal hideouts in Lagos and Ogun States.
The raids may not be unconnected with the killing of a Customs officer by suspected smugglers at the Owode-Idiroko end of Ogun State.
It said 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 clothes and frozen poultry products, among others.
Customs Area Controller in charge of FOU Zone A, Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, while conducting media men round Customs warehouse, in Ikeja, vowed to 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 could no longer fold their hands and watch while their colleagues are being slaughtered like goats by criminals who ambush them while on duty.
Speaking 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.
Ejibunu, who also expressed concern over alleged involvement of Dangote trucks in smuggling, revealed that he has written to the management of the company and that he would soon meet with the management to also address the issue.