Ikeja - Men of the Nigerian Customs Service and members of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Custom Agents (ANLCA) on Wednesday clashed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Two cargo agents sustained serious injuries during the incident.
Trouble started when the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Mr Tajudeen Olarenwaju, walked into the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company’s (NAHCO) warehouse where the agents operate.
The CAC was stoned, man-handled and pushed out of the warehouse by the agents because he came into the warehouse during break time.
Four Armoured Personnel Carriers and eight customs patrol pickup vans were immediately deployed to the scene of the incident.
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The customs men resorted to sporadic shooting of their guns and firing of tear gas, against standing regulations at the nation’s premier gateway.
A clearing agent, Yemi Adegbusi, said that the CAC tried to gain entry into the warehouse during break time in violation of the standing rule at the warehouse.
He said that the customs men also resorted to beating up everyone, including women at the cargo terminal complex.
The ANLCA Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Njoku, however, refused to comment on the matter, saying that he was having his lunch.
A senior official of the customs, who pleaded anonymity, said on phone that their officer was beaten up by the clearing agents.
She said that customs had given a directive that agents should not come to the bulk area.
The officer noted that the cargo agents, however, rebuffed the directive, resulting to the fracas.
She said that the bulk breaking area of the NAHCO warehouse would be closed temporarily until normalcy returned.
A senior management member of NAHCO, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that he was not aware of the incident.