In a tragic incident that occurred on Tuesday in the Ehime-Mbano council area of Imo State, gunmen unleashed violence, resulting in the loss of the lives of security personnel. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Owerri confirmed the killing of two of its officers alongside three other security operatives.
Mr. Abubakar Wali, the Commander of NDLEA in Imo State, disclosed this to reporters on Wednesday. He lamented the loss of one officer each from the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps during the attack. Additionally, one officer each from the NDLEA and the Nigerian Navy sustained gunshot injuries and was receiving medical treatment at the Federal University of Technology Teaching Hospital in Owerri.
These security personnel were part of the Forward Operation Base, a collaborative security outfit that includes members from the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Immigration Service. The assailants not only took the lives of these officers but also set their vehicles ablaze and seized their weapons and ammunition, though one NDLEA firearm was later recovered.
Mr. Wali expressed his deep regret over the loss of two officers and the injury of one, emphasizing that investigations were underway. He assured that those responsible for this cowardly act would be identified and prosecuted accordingly.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma also expressed his condolences and concern that security personnel who were dedicated to curbing criminality in the state were being targeted. He urged residents of nearby villages to provide valuable information to aid in the apprehension of the fleeing attackers.
Mr. Mohammed Barde, the Commissioner of Police in the state, provided further details, explaining that the assailants ambushed the security operatives on the Obowo-Ehime Mbano Road. The attackers used gunfire and grenades, leading to the tragic loss of lives.
In the wake of this unfortunate incident, Major Gen. H.T. Dada, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, paid a condolence visit to Abubakar L. Wali CN, the State Commander of NDLEA in Imo State. Brigadier Gen. U Lawal, the Brigade Commander of the 34th Artillery Brigade, Nigeria Army, accompanied him. The GOC expressed his condolences for the loss of the two NDLEA officers and offered words of encouragement to the NDLEA personnel. He conveyed the special condolences of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. T. Lagbaja, and assured that the Nigerian Army stands in solidarity with the NDLEA.
The State Commander expressed his gratitude to the GOC for the visit and viewed it as a demonstration of partnership in the ongoing fight against drugs and insecurity. He also extended his appreciation for the sympathy and support during this challenging time and prayed for the souls of the slain officers.