By Chiazo Ogbolu/Lagos
Two rice smugglers were shot dead by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Saturday after an exchange of gunfire.
Another smuggler was arrested.
The showdown happened at Shagamu Interchange on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, after a patrol team from Federal Operations Unit Zone A, intercepted 12 vehicles.
All were loaded with bags of parboiled foreign rice.
According to acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu, the customs men were on their way to the government warehouse before the smugglers mobilised themselves with the support of others and attacked the team with dangerous weapons.
“During the exchange of gunfire, two of the attackers lost their lives and one suspect was arrested.
“Out of 12 vehicles in the convoy of the smugglers, our operatives were able to leave with four of them laden with smuggled foreign parboiled rice.
“The arrested suspect and the seizure have been brought to the Unit Headquarters, Ikeja,” he said.
Ejibunu frowned at the avoidable loss of lives due to the unprovoked attack and ordered full-scale investigations into the matter to apprehend other fleeing suspects with their smuggled wares.
He cautioned members of the public to eschew violent confrontations with government operatives and be law abiding at all times
“Such violent attacks will never deter or threaten customs operatives from carrying out their legitimate duties,” he said.
He said that two operatives of customs wounded in the attack were receiving treatment in a medical facility