Customs men assault mobile court officials, magistrates in Lagos

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A violent confrontation between some men of the Nigeria Customs Service and officials of the Lagos State Mobile Court in Ikeja, penultimate Friday, resulted in the abduction of a police man, The Point’s investigation has revealed.
Our correspondent gathered that a disagreement between the Customs officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit and the mobile court officials over alleged improper parking of some vehicles in the area had degenerated into the public fight. An eye witness said that the incident occurred when the mobile court officials operating around the premises of the FOU ordered the removal of the number plates of the vehicles allegedly parked in an unauthorised place, which had also been designated as a restricted area by the Customs.
The eye witness added that, as the mobile court officials attempted to enforce the order, some armed Customs men emerged from the nearby office and descended on the policemen attached to the team, dealing them several blows.
Our correspondent gathered that the rampaging Customs officials then made for the mobile court nearby and also assaulted the magistrates.
A Deputy Superintendent of Police, who led the mobile court team to the scene, also reportedly got his own share of the beating from the Customs men.
Our correspondent also learnt that the arrival of some policemen from the Ikeja Division aggravated the situation as the combat-ready Customs men soon abducted a policeman and kept him in their custody.
The policemen, who also called for a fresh reinforcement, in turn, abducted two Customs men.
At the end of the fracas, and following a protest said to have been lodged by the Lagos State Government, the Customs authorities had to formally apologise for the action of their men involved in the incident.
The FOU of the Customs, our correspondent gathered, had to write a letter of apology to the state government over the matter.
The letter reads in part, “The policeman allegedly abducted by the Customs men has also regained his freedom, even as one of the phones said to have been seized from the Mobile Court officials has been returned with an additional promise to replace the ones smashed in the course of the mayhem.”