The peaceful atmosphere of Osogbo, Osun State capital was on Thursday threatened as members of the National Union Of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in a gun duel.
Trouble reportedly started when officials of the NDLEA chased a drug dealer into the NURTW motor park located in the Old-garage area of the town and went berserk by shooting sporadically into the air, apparently to scare people away so as to apprehend the drug dealer.
In the process, according to an eyewitness, as the para-military officers were shooting, they mistakenly shot at somebody and the development however infuriated the NURTW members who engaged them in a brawl.
Informed sources stressed that the NURTW officials claimed that they cannot just enter their motor park and be shooting into the air and this made them engage the NDLEA men in a gun duel. However, four persons sustained gunshot injuries in the process.
The fiasco, however, threw the scene of the incident into confusion as traders, motorists, okada riders, passersby and inhabitants of the place ran helter-skelter to avoid being victims of untimely death.
Meanwhile, those injured had been taken to the State Police Command Clinic at Okefia where they are presently being attended to medically.
Speaking with our reporter on the condition of anonymity, a transporter condemned the act of the NDLEA officials which he described as barbaric, callous and inhumane.
He said he “wondered why the para-military men would behave in a brutish and unruly way”, and called on the concerned authorities to wade in and fish out the perpetrators of the act in a bid to bring them to book.
Speaking on the matter, the NDLEA, Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babayemi said, “the preliminary report I got was that our men had intelligence that a vehicle was bringing in a consignment of drugs to Osogbo, then they followed the vehicle to a particular garage to see who the consignment would be delivered to.
“So at the point, they tracked the vehicle to the garage and confirmed the consignment and arrested the driver of the vehicle, then they raised the alarm and the miscreants in the garage came out with bottles, cutlasses and guns to engage our men and our command was able to contact our other men for reinforcement which was provided and in their attempt to withdraw from the scene, I think four of the miscreants were injured and they have been taken to the hospital.”
In his own reaction, Mr Adesina Lukman, Deputy Chairman, Oroki Branch of NURTW, stated that the NDLEA officials chased one of their union members to the motor park and handcuffed him and when they approach them for the establishment of his offence, they started shooting into the air and later direct their guns to members of the union leaving four of them injured.
He, however, disclosed that one of their vehicles was impounded and some of their officials arrested and were handed over to Dupe Police Station which is close to the motor park.
ALSO READ FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE