LAGOS State Task Force has alleged that a fully-armed senior customs officer, Mr Yusuf S.S, on Friday, slapped the magistrate, Lekan Aka-Basorun, while superintending a mobile court attached to the task force.
Its chairman, Olayinka Egbeyemi, claimed to have averted what could have resulted in bloody clash between men of Nigerian Customs Service and security men working for the state mobile court, aftermath of the attack on the magistrate.
Apart from personally attacking the magistrate, Yusuf allegedly ordered that court exhibits, alongside recording gadgets, be carted away by other officers of the Service who reportedly participated in the fight.
Yusuf’s aides, who were armed as well, were said to have beaten up the two para-military officials and rough handled two other superintendents of police attached to the task force, namely, Sunday Ikharere and Adeloye Okunola, at the gate of customs premises at Ikeja.
According to a release made available by the Public Affairs Officer of the agency, Mr Taofik Adebayo, Yusuf, with service No 48730 and a card No 368 attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, was said to have slapped Aka-Bashorun for ordering his court officials to impound private vehicles of Nigerian Customs officers, for committing traffic offences.
The release said consequent upon the attack, officers of the NCS trooped out en masse of their Ikeja office and charged at the operatives of the Lagos Mobile Courts, claiming that they were Federal Government agency and were fully exempted from any of the state laws, particularly the Lagos State Road Traffic Laws of 2012.
The release, however, disclosed that two officers of the NSC were arrested during the fracas but were later released on self recognisance and billed to appear before court today. They officers are Mr Goyit Bulus and Mr Olugbogi Sunday.
The statement recalled that operatives of the court had earlier commenced its operations from Allen Avenue, Ikeja, impounding both commercial and private vehicles for various traffic offences down to Nigerian Customs Operations Unit, Ikeja area, where private vehicles were flagrantly parked onthe walkways beside an illegal car wash.
“After impounding all these vehicles beside the Nigerian Customs premises by officials of the Lagos Mobile Court for various traffic offences, men of the services angrily barricaded the highways with heavy stones and used tyres and descended upon court officials and all impounded vehicles registrations number plates were forcefully carted away by them, including two mobile phones (Samsung Tab ‘A’ 2016 and Samsung A5) with a Sony Camera used for recording as evidence before the court proceedings,” Adebayo claimed in the statement.
Meanwhile, the magistrate, Aka-Bashorun, has warned that no government officials, be it federal or state, was above any laws of the country, just as he urged service chiefs in the country to call their respective officers to order.
He also called on the management of the Customs Federal Operations Unit, ‘A’, Ikeja to immediately compel their officers to return all court’s exhibits, including the two phones and a camera in their possessions to his court without further delay.