BY IFEANYI OKOLIE
LAGOS— Four persons were feared dead, Saturday night, at the notorious drug haven of Akala in Mushin area of Lagos, when armed hoodlums attacked a combined team of National Drug Law Enforcement, NDLEA, and some soldiers during a raid.
Vanguard gathered that the NDLEA operatives and some soldiers, stormed Akala, a notorious hideout for criminals in Lagos and attempted to arrest some drug barons, peddlers and users, operating in the area. But they met stiff resistance from some hoodlums who attacked them with bottles and other dangerous weapons.
Eyewitness disclosed that some of the hoodlums, who were also armed with guns fired at the NDLEA officials and the soldiers, prompting a retaliation.
According to reports, four persons were reportedly gunned down in the ensuing shootout, while some NDLEA officials sustained severe injuries.
The NDLEA, in a statement, said four other hoodlums were arrested by its operatives, while cannabis weighing 541.9kg and 32 pinches of substance that tested positive for heroine were recovered.
The statement signed by the agency’s spokesperson, Mitchell Ofoyeju, did not disclose the number of persons killed in the encounter, but said: “A combined team of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and army officers at the weekend met with stiff resistance from hoodlums at the notorious Akala, Mushin area of Lagos during a drug raid operation.
The team of officers led by NDLEA Assistant Commander, Operations and Intelligence, Mr. Ojo Ogbechema, recovered cannabis weighing 541.9kg and 32 pinches of substance that tested positive for heroin. Four suspects were also arrested.
According to the NDLEA Lagos Commander, Mr Sule Aliyu, the operation was successful in spite of the resistance from drug barons.
Sule said: “A combined team of NDLEA and army officers participated in the operation. It was a very successful raid because bags of cannabis weighing 541.9kg and 32 pinches of heroin were recovered.
“During the operation, there was an attack on the officers by a large number of hoodlums who threw bottles and stones at the officers. The road was also barricaded but the officers shot into the air to disperse the crowd.”
The commander added that two officers who sustained injury had been treated.
Meanwhile, residents of Idi‑Oro area of Mushin have called on the state government to eradicate the trade in illicit drugs from Akala and its environ if it wants lasting peace in the area.
The residents also described the activities of drug dealers and users in Akala as a major strength behind bloody clashes in Mushin. They added that Akala is the only area in Lagos State where illicit drugs are sold openly.