Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command I have reportedly arrested five suspected smugglers over a reported attack on one of its officers, Chidi Johnson.
The smugglers allegedly clashed with some operatives on patrol at Ilashe village in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
It was gathered that the suspects allegedly inflicted matchet cuts on the officer’s head.
The Customs’ spokesperson in the state, Abdullahi Maiwada, revealed this in a statement on Sunday.
Maiwada said five suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack and were undergoing interrogation.
He added that the operatives had on Friday intercepted 35 bags of smuggled parboiled rice of 50kg each ferried by a convoy of motorcyclists in the area.
According to him, the officers on their way back met suspected smugglers who allegedly launched “a vicious attack with assorted weapons on officers performing their lawful duties.”
He said, “In an effort to repel the attack and avoid bloodshed, one officer of the Customs, Assistant Superintendent Chidi Johnson, was brutally attacked and he sustained 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.”
Confirming the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed that the five suspects were undergoing interrogation at the Customs’ office.
Oyeyemi further said the police would prosecute the suspects for attempted murder, while the Customs would charge them for smuggling.
When asked if the Customs had not usurped the police power of arrest, Oyeyemi stated that anyone could make an arrest but “the power of prosecution of criminal matters is with the police.”
He added, “They have informed us; we have been informed. There are two offences now; smuggling and the offence of grievous harms that were inflicted on the Customs operatives.
“The offence of smuggling will be handled by the Customs, while the criminal offence of grievous harms and attempted murder are criminal matters that will be prosecuted by the police.”