Lekan Aka-Bashorun, a court magistrate, two policemen and two para-military officers was allegedly brutalized and equipment taken away as officials of the Nigerian Customs Service pounced on a mobile court attached to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.
“It was around a car wash area. To show that it was wrong to park vehicles by the walkway, there was also a ‘No parking’ sign, put there by the customs authorities. But some vehicles were parked there. The state mobile court impounded the vehicles.
“But the customs men trooped out and blocked the highway with stones and tyres. They beat up the court officials. One of them slapped the magistrate. They removed the number plates of the impounded vehicles. They also took two mobile phones. A camera, which was being used to record the scene, was taken away.”
PRO of Lagos State Task Force Adebayo Taofiq in his words:
“One of the customs officers, identified only as Yusuf, slapped the magistrate for ordering his court officials to impound the NCS officers’ private vehicles for traffic offences.
“Two other customs officers beat up paramilitary officers and policemen at the scene. It took the intervention of the task force Chairman, SP Olayinka Egbeyemi, to have the court officials rescued.
“The assaulted magistrate’s stand is that no government official is above the law. The magistrate has directed the NCS to compel the officers to return all court exhibits, the camera and the mobile phones taken away from the court.”
PRO of Customs Ejesieme Uche confirmed the incident:
“There was an unfortunate incident between some of our operatives and the security men attached to the Lagos State Mobile Court. The security men came for an operation around our vicinity. We were accused of slapping a magistrate. I am not confirming or debunking that, but in that situation, the magistrate did not wear uniform, so no one could identify him. But the heads of the security agencies have met and the matter has been resolved.”