Gunmen have killed four officials of the Ondo State Command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Ifon, headquarters of Ose Local Government Area of the state.
The incident occurred on Sunday, when men of the service were performing their duty at a checkpoint near Ifon, in Ose Local Government Area of the state.
The dead bodies of the victims were reportedly found by some farmers on their way from the farm, along the checkpoint in Ikaro, near Ifon.
Commander of NDLEA in Ondo State, Haruna Gagara, confirmed the incident and added that investigations are ongoing to unravel the situation and bring the perpetrators to book.
Gagara further noted that men of the command have gone to the scene of the incident to evacuate the corpses alongside other security agencies who are involved in the operation.
He said killing of its men will not deter the agency in its fight against narcotics and those promoting it.
In an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Akure, Gagara described the loss of his men in an unprovoked attack as ‘a very painful one’.
He said with the collaboration of other security agencies in the state, the fight against narcotics dealers has just begun.
“Five of my officers were on patrol duty on Ifon Road, two persons on motorcycle with Ak47 riffles in a sack, opened fire on the officers, killing four and one escaped unhurt.
“They set the patrol van ablaze before they left. This type of incident has not happened before, but, we have had cases of mob attack. This is the first time they came and attacked our men for no reason.
“It was an unprovoked attack. The people we are waging war against are the prime suspects. I’m sure God will expose them and we will get them.
“But, I’m promising you; this will not deter us, rather, it will ginger us to do more. I assure you, with other security agencies in the state, the war will surely be won,” Gagara said.
In his reaction, NDLEA Chairman/CEO, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd), condemned the killing.
He also frowned at the upsurge in drug-related crimes in the state.
Abdullah, in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Narcotics, Femi Oloruntoba, said this during an interaction with newsmen, in Abuja, yesterday.
He recalled that drug syndicates and barons launched an attack on NDLEA patrol team in Ondo State killing four officers, instantly, and burning the patrol van.
“This ugly incident occurred in Ifon, in Ose council, during a routine patrol by the team who had vociferously fought the menace of hard drugs in the state to standstill.
“The organised criminals ambushed the team and snuffed life out of the four gallant officers who fought till death,” he said.
Abdallah frowned at the way the dastardly attack was carried out and promised to bring the fleeing perpetrators to book.
The NDLEA boss, however, commiserated with the family of the deceased officers and promised to do everything possible within the reach of the agency to soothe their pains.
The statement recalled that NDLEA have constantly destroyed several cannabis farms in many parts of Ondo State and confiscated hard drugs running into millions of naira from the barons and syndicates in the state.