By Abiodun Sanusi
Three operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have been injured with one shot in the head following an attack by hoodlums protecting a drugs’ den inside the Opuje forest in Edo State.
In a statement on Thursday, the spokesman for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said the operatives came under gunfire in the early hours of Monday, December 4, after they had destroyed some drug warehouses in the area.
He said the attackers blocked all access roads in the community to prevent the NDLEA operatives from leaving and opened fire on them.
Babafemi said, “NDLEA operatives have repelled rain of bullets from armed hoodlums who blocked all roads in Opuje community, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State to prevent the anti-narcotic operatives from accessing the forest warehouses where tons of processed psychoactive substances have been stored for distribution nationwide ahead of the coming Christmas and New Year season.
“Following credible intelligence that the drug cartels had again stocked their warehouses in the forest to start distribution of the psychoactive substance to various parts of the country ahead of the Yuletide season, teams of NDLEA officers were mobilised to enter the Edo forests and block the distribution of the illicit drug by destroying their warehouses.
“Some of the warehouses, containing about 6,000kgs of cannabis, were first taken down in Ujiogba forest in Esan West LGA last weekend.
“The NDLEA teams however came under gunfire attack in the early hours of Monday, December 4, when they approached the Opuje forest after the armed hoodlums had blocked all access roads in the community. The NDLEA operatives were able to exit the area after over two hours of gunfight with the armed hoodlums.
“Unfortunately, three of the officers were injured in the attack with one of them shot in the head while some of the vehicles used for the operation were riddled with bullets. The affected officers were rushed to the hospital for treatment while the critically injured one had a major surgery on Wednesday, December 6, to remove the bullets in his brain.”
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NDLEA, Buba Marwa, as vowing that those sponsoring attacks on the operatives would know no rest until they were all brought before the law to face the consequences of their action and their criminal trade terminated.
“While commending the professional conduct of the officers involved in the operation, Marwa said the incident will not in any way deter the agency from continuing its ongoing offensive action against drug barons and cartels who are merchants of death bent on destroying the lives of innocent citizens especially the youths for their own comfort across the nook and cranny of the country.”