Suspected gunmen numbering about 20 on Tuesday ambushed some National Drug Law Enforcement operatives who were trailing a drug baron from the Agege area of Lagos Mainland.
The operatives were trying to intercept a truck conveying unknown quantities of Canadian Loud on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State around 1am when they came under a rain of gunfire but the attackers were repelled with the assistance of some soldiers.
However, the hoodlums escaped with the baron who had been on the watch-list of the drug agency for some time.
The incident is coming against the backdrop of the arrests of several drug lords and the crippling of their criminal enterprise, leading to seizures of huge quantities of narcotics and other illicit drugs
NDLEA recently froze 126 bank accounts belonging to a suspected drug lord, Nsofor Chukwukadibia.
The accounts domiciled in various commercial banks had cash inflows of N4.3bn and outflows of N7.9bn, while over N50bn had passed through them.
The NDLEA also confiscated 20 mansions belonging to the suspected drug baron located in Lagos, Abuja and the South-East.
However, the drug traffickers have been fighting hard against the drug agency’s onslaught by launching attacks on its operatives.
Confirming the Tuesday attack in Lagos to The PUNCH, the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Babafemi explained that the agency successfully seized a truck-load of Canadian Loud during the operation.
According to Babafemi, Canadian Loud is a very strong and most expensive variant of cannabis.
He said, “It is usually imported from Canada and shipped through neighboring countries like Ghana and Benin Republic from where the cartels try to smuggle them into Lagos as in this particular case.”
Babafemi said, “Operatives of the agency trailed a drug movement from the Agege area of Lagos Mainland to the Ikoyi area of Lagos Island in the early hours of Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
“Our operatives blocked the truck and in the process, some suspected fake security agents who were escorting the truck struggled with our operatives, and they eventually escaped with the suspect.
“But our men were able to get the drug-filled truck. The gunmen damaged NDLEA’s operational vehicle and tried to demobilize our operatives as they damaged the windscreen of the vehicle.
“But our operatives got the support of some soldiers who were nearby during the attack, and the soldiers supported the efforts of our operatives, leading our operatives to successfully move the truck containing the drugs to our office.”
But the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi doubted the involvement of police officers in the attack, noting that the necessary steps would be taken if investigations by the NDLEA identified the attackers as police officers.
Adejobi said, “I doubt the veracity of the claim that the attackers were police officers. No reasonable police officer would involve themselves in drug dealing or attack operatives of the NDLEA during an operation to arrest a drug baron; instead, police officers are supposed to work with the NDLEA to nab criminals.’’
A security expert, Chidi Omeje called for the arrest of the attackers, describing them as rogue elements.