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There was a mild drama, weekend, when officers of the Nigerian Customs Services, NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, allegedly attacked a magistrate of the Lagos State Mobile Court, Magistrate Lekan Aka-Bashorun, and carted away court exhibits.
Head, Public Affairs Unit, Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences, Mr. Adebayo Taofiq, disclosed this yesterday. According to Taofiq, “A fully-armed Nigerian Customs officer, Mr. Yusuf S, with service number 48730 and a card number 368, attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, slapped Magistrate Aka-Bashorun for ordering his court officials to impound Nigerian Customs officers’ private vehicles for traffic offence.
“His colleagues beat up two para-military officials and rough handled two Superintendents of Police (SP Sunday Ikharere and SP Adeloye Okunola) attached to Lagos State Task Force in front of the gate of their premises at Ikeja.
“Other officers trooped out, claiming that as officers of a Federal Government agency they were exempted from any of Lagos State Government’s laws, particularly traffic laws
. “The operatives of the court commenced its operations from Allen Avenue at Ikeja, impounding both commercial and private vehicles for various traffic offences down to Nigerian Customs Operations Unit, Ikeja area, where private vehicles were parked along the walkways beside an illegal car wash despite the ‘No Parking’ signs installed by the Management of Nigerian Customs on the walls of the premises.
“It was after the vehicles beside Nigerian Customs premises were impounded that its officials barricaded the highway with heavy stones and used tyres, and descended on court officials, carting away two mobile phones (Samsung Tab ‘A’ 2016 and Samsung A5) with a Sony camera used for recording evidence before court proceedings.
“The fracas, which saw two Customs officers arrested, would have turned out to be bloody because many of them came out with weapons, including guns.
Tension was later doused by the Chairman of the Task Force, Superintendent of Police Olayinka Egbeyemi, who came to the scene and moved away officials of the court and policemen.”
However, three of those operating the illegal car wash, who refused to disclosed their names, said they were paying security charges/levies to some NCS officials, Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, for protecting them from any of the state law enforcement agents.
The assaulted magistrate, however, called on security chiefs across the country to call their respective officers to order and that they must subject themselves to civil rule or face consequences for disobeying any law. Aka-Bashorun said: “The era of military rule is gone
. I, therefore, implore the management of the Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, ‘A’, Ikeja, to immediately compel their officers to return all court exhibits, including the two phones and a Sony Camera in their possessions, without any further delay.”