Gobe! Lagos Police & Customs In Hour-Long Gun Battle

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Policemen from the Oto Awori Police Division and some Nigeria Customs Sercice officials attached to the Seme command, on Tuesday, exchanged gunfire for about an hour at Agbara over the alleged arrest of a yet-to-be identified police inspector.

The police inspector, who was said to be attached to the Oto Awori division, was allegedly arrested by the customs officials after a tip-off that he was involved in smuggling bags of rice from Cotonou,  Republic of Benin through the Seme border.

Eyewitnesses said   customs men had lain in wait for the police inspector on his way from Cotonou.

One of the witnesses, who pleaded anonymity because of the fear of reprisal, said, “Immediately the police inspector showed up, the customs officials apprehended him.

“The inspector denied smuggling any bag of rice and resisted arrest. He even blocked the road with his car and stopped the flow of traffic. The arrest soon degenerated into chaos, and eventually, the customs officials chained him to a building by the road.”

PUNCH Metro gathered that the detained police inspector quickly made a distress call to his colleagues at the Oto Awori division.

It was learnt that no fewer than 10 teams of policemen came down to the spot. They were said to be armed and shot indiscriminately as they approached the scene.

Our correspondent was told that the customs officials were not ready to give up the suspect, and also shot back at the policemen.

“For over an hour, these two security agencies exchanged gunfire. Traffic on both sides of the road came to a halt. Everyone abandoned their vehicles and ran for safety. When it became clear that there was no headway, the policemen, who were led by one unidentified man with a DSP insignia on his shoulder, withdrew. They took two customs officials with them,” the source added.

It was learnt that as travellers on the road were returning to their vehicles and also talking about the incident, the policemen returned to the scene. They allegedly told the customs officials that what they wanted was that the police inspector in their custody be released to them.

He said, “Eventually, the customs men unchained the inspector and allowed him to go. After that, the policemen told the customs officials that they would see them later. I think that exchange would not be the end of the matter.

“It was a horrible experience that we went through today while the shooting lasted. The police and customs hierarchy must do something about this to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.”

When PUNCH Metro contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Seme Command, Ernest Olottah, he said the customs officials involved were not from the command.

Olottah, a Superintendent of Customs, said, “An incident like that took place. But none of the customs officials involved is from the Seme command.

“Investigations are ongoing to determine the identity of the officials involved in the incident and also to get the true picture.

 There was, however, no response from the Lagos Police PRO, Ngozi Braide. Calls to her telephone rang out, while a text message was not replied.

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Policemen from the Oto Awori Police Division and some Nigeria Customs Sercice officials attached to the Seme command, on Tuesday, exchanged gunfire for about an hour at Agbara over the alleged arrest of a yet-to-be identified police inspector.

The police inspector, who was said to be attached to the Oto Awori division, was allegedly arrested by the customs officials after a tip-off that he was involved in smuggling bags of rice from Cotonou,  Republic of Benin through the Seme border.

Eyewitnesses said   customs men had lain in wait for the police inspector on his way from Cotonou.

One of the witnesses, who pleaded anonymity because of the fear of reprisal, said, “Immediately the police inspector showed up, the customs officials apprehended him.

“The inspector denied smuggling any bag of rice and resisted arrest. He even blocked the road with his car and stopped the flow of traffic. The arrest soon degenerated into chaos, and eventually, the customs officials chained him to a building by the road.”

PUNCH Metro gathered that the detained police inspector quickly made a distress call to his colleagues at the Oto Awori division.

It was learnt that no fewer than 10 teams of policemen came down to the spot. They were said to be armed and shot indiscriminately as they approached the scene.

Our correspondent was told that the customs officials were not ready to give up the suspect, and also shot back at the policemen.

“For over an hour, these two security agencies exchanged gunfire. Traffic on both sides of the road came to a halt. Everyone abandoned their vehicles and ran for safety. When it became clear that there was no headway, the policemen, who were led by one unidentified man with a DSP insignia on his shoulder, withdrew. They took two customs officials with them,” the source added.

It was learnt that as travellers on the road were returning to their vehicles and also talking about the incident, the policemen returned to the scene. They allegedly told the customs officials that what they wanted was that the police inspector in their custody be released to them.

He said, “Eventually, the customs men unchained the inspector and allowed him to go. After that, the policemen told the customs officials that they would see them later. I think that exchange would not be the end of the matter.

“It was a horrible experience that we went through today while the shooting lasted. The police and customs hierarchy must do something about this to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.”

When PUNCH Metro contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Seme Command, Ernest Olottah, he said the customs officials involved were not from the command.

Olottah, a Superintendent of Customs, said, “An incident like that took place. But none of the customs officials involved is from the Seme command.

“Investigations are ongoing to determine the identity of the officials involved in the incident and also to get the true picture.

 There was, however, no response from the Lagos Police PRO, Ngozi Braide. Calls to her telephone rang out, while a text message was not replied.

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