The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it is investigating the shooting incident during raid on a drug joint at Okpanam area of Asaba in Delta.
According to multiple reports, a stray bullet fired by an official of the agency killed a two-year-old boy, Ivan Omorhiakogbe, during the raid.
Reacting in a statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy (NDLEA) Mr Femi Babafemi on Saturday in Abuja, the Agency confirmed that a stray bullet from the weapon of an NDLEA officer was reported to have hit a young man who eventually died while undergoing treatment in a hospital.
He said that the NDLEA Chairman, retired, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, set up the investigation panel consisting top officials from the national headquarters, after receiving initial briefings on the incident from the Delta Command.
Babafemi said that the chairman directed the investigators to immediately proceed to Asaba, to establish the actual facts of the case.
According to him, the NDLEA has been in touch with the family of the decreased.
Babafemi also reported the initial brief on the incident given to the Chairman by the Delta command.
“Team of NDLEA operatives carried out an intelligence-based raid of the joint of a notorious drug dealer located at Okpanam area of Asaba at about 1600 hours on Thursday July 13.
“And in the process of the operation, a Toyota Camry 2008 model, light blue colour at the scene suddenly zoomed off and knocked down one of our officers who is currently in critical condition, undergoing treatment in a hospital.
“In a bid demobilise the car and prevent it from escaping, another officer fired a shot aimed at the tyre of the car, which eventually escaped.
“While the injured officer was rushed for treatment, the officers got reports of a stray bullet hitting a young person and immediately located the father of the victim, followed him to the hospital and supported in facilitating his treatment but unfortunately died in the process.
“We’re in touch with the family to provide necessary assistance while we conclude our investigation of the incident.
“We will like to assure the family and members of the public that we’ll get to the root of the case and take necessary action.”
Meanwhile, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta on Saturday condemned the killing.
The governor said the tragic incident was regrettable and avoidable if the officers had operated based on their rules of engagement.
He called on the NDLEA authorities and the Police Command in Delta to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the boy and injury to his brother, with a view to bringing the culprits to book and avoiding a future occurrence.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I commiserate with the family of Fidelis Omorhiakogbe on the tragic death of their two-year-old son, Ivan, and injury to his younger sibling, Eromonsele.
“This incident is tragic, painful, and grievous because of the loss of a child and injury to his younger sibling.
“I condemn this unfortunate incident because no matter the provocation, armed security men must operate within the standard procedure as enshrined in their rules of engagement,” he said.
Oborevwori added, “any action taken outside these international best practices could be catastrophic as in this case.
“I, therefore, call on the NDLEA and Police authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident and bring all the culprits to book.