By Adejoke Adeleye

Smugglers have launched an attack on men of the Nigerian Customs Service and wounded one with a machete in Ogun State.

The attack came after the Customs seized 35 bags of rice (50kg) from them at Ilashe Village, Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The customs, in a press statement, issued by the Public Relations Officer, PRO, Maiwada Abdullah made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, said the officers were about to leave the area after intercepting the smuggled rice when they (smugglers) trooped out in numbers on motorcycles with different types of weapons to attack the officers on duty.

“At about 1930 hours on Friday, 8th May 2020, officers and men of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun I Command went on information patrol to Ilashe Village in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.

“During operation, they intercepted thirty-five (35) bags of smuggled parboiled rice of 50kg each ferried by a convoy of motorcyclists (popularly known as okada).

“On their way out of the area, the smugglers mobilised in an overwhelming number, launched a vicious attack with assorted weapons on officers.

“In an effort to repel the attack and avoid bloodshed, one officer of the Customs, Assistant Superintendent Chidi Johnson was brutally macheted, sustaining deep cuts in various parts of his body.

‘The seriously wounded officer was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention, and luckily he is responding to treatment.

“To this end, five suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and are currently undergoing interrogation.

“It is instructive to note that Friday (08/05/2020) was a date set aside for total lockdown in Ogun State due to the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

The Customs said it found it unfortunate and strange, that the smugglers who had no regards for laws of the land or the disease ravaging the global community, resorted to crossing the border through illegal routes to perpetrate such nefarious activities in total disregard of the health and economic well being of Nigerians.

“Principally, we seize this opportunity to enjoin the faceless unpatriotic smuggling cartels to stop using uninformed youths as cannon fodders in their nefarious trade.

“We challenge them to bring their own biological children to attack personnel of the Service and have a taste of the consequences of such act,” it said.