Sokoto — Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics I, of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Thomas Mbere at the weekend explained how he was assaulted by persons suspected to be Area boys at a check point along Barracks road in Sokoto State, after a trailer crushed to death one of his colleagues, Assistant Superintendent of Arctic, Sunday Ogunjemiluwa and a motorist.
Mbere, who said he sustained fractures on his hand and leg as a result of the attack, said the incident occurred when he and other NDLEA operatives went on a routine patrol to check the influx of hard drugs into the city.
"On June 27, we went out for operation. The deceased and other operatives were searching a vehicle, so we attempted to stop a trailer, but it refused to stop and ran over him and the person whose vehicle he was searching. Immediately the incident occurred, the Area boys came and asked us why we were standing at that point, and started beating us with stones, sticks and iron. They used the iron to break my hand and leg, despite the fact that I was standing on the other side of the road, while the accident occurred on the opposite side. As they were beating me, two soldiers who were on a bike, stopped and rescued us. They were the ones that took me to the hospital," he said.
The NDLEA operative, who joined the agency in 1990, said this is the first time such a thing was happening to him.
The Sokoto State Commander of the NDLEA, Alhaji Musbahu Idris, who also spoke on the incident, said it was sad and disheartening.
"In May, we intercepted a large consignment of psychotropic substances, four people were involved and they have been arrested and charged. Infact, one of them has been convicted to 10 months imprisonment. This time around, we received an intelligence report that some drugs may be smuggled into the state, so we sent our men to make arrests.
"In the course of that, they stopped a motorist, and while they were searching his vehicle, two trailers approached them on high speed, according to the officers. One overtook the other, and the one behind either lost control or his brake failed, and he over ran the person searching the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle. When this occurred, a mob descended on the officers thinking that they caused the accident.
"In the area where the incident occurred, there are people who are not happy with what we are doing in terms of arrests and seizures .There are a lot of miscreants around that area too. They wanted to disarm the officer, but he held tight to his gun, and in the process he got his hand and leg broken. It took the intervention of police, military and NDLEA officers to disperse the miscreants.
"After that, the deceased and injured were taken to the hospital and all the necessary arrangements were put in place. The man that was injured was also taken to Lagos as the hospital where he registered with the Health Service Insurance Scheme is in Lagos," he said.
He described the deceased, Sunday Ogunjemilua as a very hardworking and dedicated officer, who contributed immensely to the success of the agency's operations.