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Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has arraigned two notorious smugglers, Mr. Oyedeji Rashidi and Mr. Shuaib Sheyi before Chief Magistrate Y.A. Aje-Afunwa Court, Ikeja, Lagos State on Tuesday 18th October 2016.
They were arraigned on nine (9) counts charge of smuggling prohibited items.
The two suspects have been remanded in Ikoyi Prison awaiting trial as the case was adjourned to February 15, 2017.
Badejogbin David ESQ who led the legal team of the Nigeria Customs Service prayed that the court expedite the legal proceedings to serve as deterrent to others.
It would be recalled that on Thursday 13 October 2016, FOU’s field operatives while on a tip off trailed some smugglers to Alakuko /Kola Junction area of Agege Lagos and intercepted two vehicles laden with smuggled rice.
However while taking the seized goods to the office, one of the suspects Oyedeyi Rashidi incited a mob attack against our operatives who were armed with various dangerous weapons such as guns, cutlasses, broken bottle, sticks, stones among others, which resulted to a shootout between Customs and the smugglers.
While some of these hoodlums confronted Customs operatives, others rescued one of the arrested vehicles loaded with smuggled rice only for the intervention of reinforcement team to save one of the vehicles, and ensured the arrest of a suspect.
The professional conduct of our operatives prevented a complete breakdown of law and order or serious fatalities in a densely populated area.
Customs said in a statement that “For the avoidance of doubt, the fact that a smuggler has evaded scrutiny either by following unapproved route or compromising any operatives does not guarantee that the smuggled item will not be seized anywhere it is found by patrol officers whose duty is to ensure compliance”
“However, when the smugglers’ gang leader using their chain of informants got to know that our Unit was charging the suspect (Oyedeji Rashidi) to Court being 18th October 2016, they mobilized with the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Lagos State Branch to stage an unruly protest to the Federal Operations Unit Zone A Ikeja demanding the unconditional release of the suspect in our custody. It is amazing that such credible Human right body would allow themselves to be used by the smugglers who mean no good for the country.
In his response, the Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru commended the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Fatai Owoseni for his prompt deployment of his men to stop what would have caused serious tensions and casualties. He said the spirit of inter-agency relationship among security agencies couldn’t be over emphasized. He noted that the economic saboteurs are desperate to smuggle into the Country over 600 metric tonnes of Rice rotting away in warehouses located across our borders. He restated the determination of his operatives to frustrate their plans and bring them to book accordingly.
He further advised the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights to always verify their claims before embarking on any struggle to enhance their credibility and integrity. He noted that taking sides with suspected smugglers is not within their mandate.
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