The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said its operatives repelled gunfire from armed hoodlums in Opuje, Edo State, as they sought to access forest warehouses storing psychoactive substances.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, shared on the agency’s X account on Thursday.
The incident followed a similar attack 11 months ago when NDLEA officers were ambushed during an operation, resulting in the arrest of suspects.
Opuje is known for large-scale cannabis cultivation, with drug cartels investing heavily in protecting their warehouses.
The statement said, “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 mobilized 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 4th December 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 6th December to remove the bullets in his brain.”