By James Ogunnaike
An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command, has been declared missing as operatives of the command clashed with suspected smugglers along Olorunlere Village, near Alapoti town in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Hammed Bukoye Oloyede, on Friday, indicated that the incident occurred on December 3, when a team of officers and men of the command were on routine patrol, 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, and this resulted in a serious exchange of gunfire between the two sides.
Oloyede explained that the patrol team called for reinforcement, but before the arrival of the intervention from other units, they were overwhelmed due to the numeric strength of the smugglers aided by hoodlums.
He added that in the ensuing commotion, the team tactically withdrew to enable the arrival of the reinforcement teams.
“On the arrival of the military personnel and other units of Customs including Federal Operations Unit (FOU) as requested by the Customs Area Controller, Peter Kolo, 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 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 warned 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 will not be deterred by this and will step up its offensive against those whose interests are 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”, Oloyede stated in the statement.