There was pandemonium in Olorunlere village, near Alapoti, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, when suspected rice smugglers and men of the Ogun 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) exchanged gunfire on Thursday.
Oloyede also confirmed the disappearance of one of the officers, CA I(T) Taiwo J. Odeyemi, whose whereabouts is still unknown.
A statement made available to newsmen on Friday, by the Customs spokesperson for Ogun 1 Command, Bukoye Oloyede, said that the smugglers, in order to evade arrest by the Customs patrol team, started shooting at the officers, who in turn responded with their own firepower.
“On Thursday, 3rd of December, 2020 at about 12:10 hours, a team of Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun I Command while on routine mobile patrol along Olorunlere village, near Alapoti, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State intercepted some vehicles loaded with bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“The suspected smugglers, sensing their loss on sighting the patrol team, attempted to evade arrest and eventually started shooting sporadically at the Officers. This resulted in a serious exchange of fire between the two sides.
“Consequently, the patrol team called for reinforcement. However, before the intervention from other units, they were overwhelmed due to the numeric strength of the smugglers/hoodlums. In the ensuing commotion, the Customs team tactically withdrew to enable the arrival of the reinforcements teams.
“On the arrival of the military personnel and other units of Customs including Federal Operations Unit (FOU) as requested by the CAC, the hoodlums had already vandalised one of the official vehicles attached to the team. It was later discovered that an official driver, CA I (T) Taiwo J. Odeyemi was missing and has not been found as at the time of writing this report.
“In the light of the above, investigation is ongoing and effort is being made along with other security agencies and other critical stakeholders to locate the whereabouts of the missing officer and rescue him alive.
“To this end, the CAC strongly warn smugglers and their supporters that the incessant attacks leave Officers with no other choice than to use appropriate force to deal with these new waves of criminal attacks on personnel performing their statutory functions.
“The Command is not deterred by this and will step up its offensive against those whose interest is to make profits at the expense of the nation. Finally, the CAC has vowed to ensure that those behind this attack face the full wrath of the law and justice,” the statement said.