Lagos - The Controller of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Dan Ugo said that 88 suspects were arrested during a raid at the Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Ugo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos that 14 of those arrested, who tendered genuine documents of identification, were later released.
He also confirmed that 25 of the suspects had been charged to court, while the remaining suspects were being screened to ascertain those with legitimate documents.
Ugo said that the raid followed an intelligence report at the disposal of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Abdullahi Dikko, that some misguided elements were disturbing operations at the port.
``I was ordered by the CGC to ensure total annihilation of these miscreants. To this effect, on Feb 6, 2013, a combined team of Customs and Police visited Tin-Can to raid the port.
``This was to remove the undesirable elements, whose activities have continually posed serious threat to security and to customs operations, `` Ugo told NAN.
The controller said that the touts pretended as genuine port users, adding that they were actually involved in many unwholesome acts, which most times affected maximum revenue collection by the service.
He said that most of the touts were involved in falsification of clearance documents and other heinous crimes.
Ugo said that the comptroller general had assured all genuine importers and agents of his continuous support in terms of trade facilitation.
NAN reports that Wednesday's raid, however, led to protests by a section of port users.
Some of the port users who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity, faulted the NCS for raiding the port with armed policemen.
They said that in the past, such raids were done quietly.
Mr Musbau Azeez, an Executive Officer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said that it was usual for the service to raid the port and arrest suspected hoodlums.
Azeez was optimistic that the innocent ones among those arrested on Wednesday would be released, after proper screening.