InLagos Confusion as customs officers, soldiers clash

Soldiers clash with Customs officers during attempt to impound containers at the Arena Market, Oshodi.

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Customs, soldiers

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Shop owners and shoppers at the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Bolade, in the Oshodi area of Lagos State were thrown into confusion as some soldiers clashed with officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.

The incident which occurred on Thursday, November 3, began when customs officers reportedly traced six missing containers on suspicions that they were loaded with contraband goods and moved to impound them.

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Punch reports that the impound was stopped by soldiers at the Army Shopping Arena popularly known as Arena Market.

According to the reports, the soldiers insisted that the customs officers had no jurisdiction in the military market and anything inside of it as the containers were driven into the Arena earlier on.

The officers reportedly engaged themselves in a free for all at about 9am, causing panic and disrupting business activities.

The Public Relations Officer, PRO, NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, Jerry Attah, confirmed the incident, saying that customs successfully seized six containers from the market, Punch reports.

“The military men assisted in the arrest, and there was no clash. We have a good working relationship with the military.

“Based on information, our men trailed six 40-foot containers to the Arena Market, and we contacted the Commanding Officer of the 9 Brigade. They gave us maximum cooperation and assistance.

“There was no commotion. We are waiting for the owners of the containers to come before we will open the containers for examination,” he said.

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Speaking on their part, the spokesperson for the 81 division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Samuel Kingsley said:

“The customs men trailed some contraband goods, but due process was not followed.

“When they got their procedures right, we allowed them to have access to the place. There are procedures. You don’t just enter the barracks without permission.

“We are not a lawless society and we do not allow such things. So, when the customs got their procedures right, they were allowed in.”

Business has since returned to normal at the military market after the misunderstanding was resolved.

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