Smugglers attack customs officers with charms in Ogun

A Federal High court sitting at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has remanded two suspected smugglers, Felarun Oluwasegun and Fakore in a correctional facility for attacking operatives of the Ikeja Zone “A” Federal Operations Unit of Nigeria Customs Service with charms and horsewhip.

Justice Adefunmilayo Demi-Ajayi of the Federal High Court ordered that the suspects be remanded in a correctional facility in Abeokuta pending the hearing of their bail applications.

The suspects were arraigned on three counts bothering on assault, illegal importation of 37 bags of foreign parboiled rice and unlawful possession of contrabands.

The customs’ prosecutor, an Assistant Legal Adviser, Vivian Aigbadon, told the court that the accused persons committed the offences on February 21, 2023, at Owoyele axis of Igbogila in the Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state.

Aigbadon said the suspects connived and inflicted physical injuries on two operatives simply identified as Joseph and Echem while performing their statutory functions as anti-smuggling operatives.

Aigbadon further told the court that the offences contravened Section 11 (a), Cap “C45” of the Customs and Excise Management Act, punishable under the law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Moving a motion for their bail applications, the defence counsel, O.O Oyedele prayed the court to grant his clients bail on grounds of their health.

He claimed they sustained life-threatening injuries during the clash with the anti-smuggling operatives.

Justice Demi-Ajayi, however, adjourned ruling on their bail applications till May 30, 2023.

In another suit, the court also adjourned ruling on the bail applications of three suspected smugglers arraigned last week Tuesday for allegedly forging Customs’ documents till May 24, 2023.

The smugglers, Ismail Shaibu Kolo, Jimoh Yakubu and Abdullahi Muazu, were said to have “conspired to forge Nigeria Customs Service documents Exit Note declaration form: Ports & Terminal Multi-Services Limited Provision Assessment form”.

When the matter came up for mention on Tuesday, the customs’ prosecutor in her counter-affidavit, opposed the bail applications of the accused persons on the ground that they are likely to tamper with the ongoing Customs’ investigations, particularly when other members of the smuggling syndicate are still at large.

Aigbadon argued that the accused may abscond, stressing that there are also reasonable grounds to believe that the accused persons will go back and still commit another crime related to the one for which he is being prosecuted.

After listening to the arguments, the presiding judge adjourned the ruling on their bail applications till May 24, 2023.