At least two customs officers have sustained severe injuries during a 40-minute exchange of gunfire between hoodlums and security forces in an attack on the customs command headquarters in Ilorin, Kwara State on Friday.
Twenty-four motorcycles and one Keke Napep meant to cart away goods out of the command, were also seized during the bloody encounter.
Chado Zakari, the spokesman of the Kwara Area Command, Nigeria Customs Service, who gave an account of the invasion by the hoodlums, said “the command came under attack at about 4.30 p.m on Friday.
“The hoodlums came in large numbers armed with guns, machetes, axes, charms and other dangerous weapons in an attempt to unleash mayhem on the command.”
He said the customs area controller, Comptroller Ahmed Hussaini Bello, who was still in office, at the time of the attack, called for immediate reinforcement from the Nigerian Army, after efforts to address the hoodlums and douse the tensed atmosphere at the command’s gate failed.
“Officers were left with no option than to respond appropriately to spontaneous attack unleashed by the hoodlums.
” Unfortunately, 40-minute exchange of gunfire led to the severe injuries of two of our officers who are now responding to treatment in our health facilities.
” It is important to state that 24 motorcycles and one Keke Napep meant to move goods out of the command, were seized during the encounter,” he added.
The customs command vowed to do everything humanly possible within the ambit of the law to protect government properties and ensure that peace prevails against all odds.
Asserting that hostility by hoodlums and their accomplices will never be a distraction in discharging its statutory responsibilities, the command called on parents, guardians, community and religious leaders, as well as opinion moulders to caution their wards on the dangers of towing the path of extreme illegality and anarchy.