A bloody clash between some hoodlums and Custom personnel in Owode Yewa area of Ogun state on Tuesday has left one person dead, and many others, including Custom officers, injured.
According to eyewitnesses, trouble began on Monday night when the Customs operatives raided a place of worship and some houses in the community suspected to be keeping smuggled rice.
The enforcement team was said to been fiercely resisted by the hoodlums, which led to the exchange of fire.
The officers and other members of the team were said to have suffered injuries, while some of their patrol vehicles were destroyed.
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command, NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, explained that the Customs personnel withdrew from the scene on Monday night but some people later barricaded the road leading to Idiroko and attacked the team.
The spokesman said the hoodlums battled law enforcement agents to gain access to Customs formations for further confrontation.
Defending their actions, some youths in the area, who were said to have set up bonfire and blocked the road, stated that the Customs operatives shot and killed one Kunle after the youths tried to stop them from carrying out a raid on the Celestial Church of Christ in the community.
“They wanted to ransack the house of God, but we stopped them and they started shooting. One of our colleagues, Kunle, was shot dead. We mobilised today (Tuesday) to teach them a lesson,” one of the aggrieved youths told our correspondent.
Maiwada added that, since the Ogun state command of the NCS lost an officer to machete cuts from suspected smugglers earlier in January, the operatives have step up operations against smuggling in the state.
“Finally, we wish to commend the patriotic roles of our sister agencies and law-abiding citizens in assisting the command to carry out its lawful duty of revenue collection and suppression of smuggling in the interest of our dear country. We wish to categorically state that we will continue to carry out the anti-smuggling crusade against all odds,” a statement from the command read on Tuesday.