One person have been reported dead and 14 injured after operatives of the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA raided Powerline, Ariaria market in Abia state, south-east Nigeria.
The drug enforcement agency raided the area following a tipoff and along the line, pandemonium broke out leading to the death of one.
The casualties are said to be receiving treatment at some private hospitals with degree of bullet treatments.
It was revealed that security operatives attached to the Drug Enforcement Agency, were at the area on a raid of some drug dealers who took to their heels on sighting them.
Commotion started with gun shots fired in the air, as people, traders, passers-by scampered for safety. Some unlucky ones were hit by the stray bullets and died on the spot while other injured persons were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Narrating the incident, a source from the NDLEA who pleaded anonymity, said that security operatives attached to the Drug Enforcement Agency went for the operation, and there was a mob attack, the operatives fought the battle but had to retreat as they were being overpowered by the mob.
“Not quite long after we left, the police came, and out of annoyance, the mob descended on the police, the police started shooting. In the cause of the shootings, one died.
“The mob were shooting, throwing stones and carrying knives shouting ‘we no go gree, you no go carry am comot’,
“The angry mob even took the fight down to the police station and overpowered the police men that were there, the mob also collected their arms, only one person died and about 14 people were injured,
“The drug dealer was arrested but because of the mob, we couldn’t take him as they went with our handcuff, it was at this point that the drug dealer escaped.” the source said.
The source went on to say that the police were not working for NDLEA, “we did not call them, most times when we go on operations, we meet the police, this has been a problem for us, what the police is doing there is what no one can say, only them know their mission”
The source who said that soldiers also arrived the scene after the mob had overpowered the police to salvage the place and calm the situation stated that fingers cannot be pointed to the person or group responsible for the loss of life.
“I cannot say for certain that the mob killed the person, I have to be fair, for all I can say, as at the time the NDLEA left, there was no death,”
The source further stated that such an incident had never happened before, adding that if the police hadn’t arrived the scene, the NDLEA operatives would have retreated to report the case.
Confirming the incident, the Commandant of the NDLEA in Abia State, Bamidele Akingbade, accepting the shooting in the air, said that the shots were fired in the air “in a bid for them to escape from the mob action”.
Although the police had denied involvement in the shootout, police spokesman in the State, Onyeke Ezekiel, said that an in-depth investigation had begun to unravel those involved in the manslaughter and mayhem that led to the tragic loss of life.
The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has however asked the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Nigeria to approach their jobs with restraints, caution and extreme care.