By Anayo Ezugwu
IN 2019, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, seized and destroyed 310.1 tons of Cannabis across the country, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, chairman/chief executive of the NDLEA, said a total of 612, 903.484 kilograms of drugs were seized.
In a statement made available to Realnews on Monday, June 22, Abdallah said the arrest figures were 9,444 of drug-related offenders and that a total of 1,195 convictions were recorded, while 795 drug-dependent persons were counseled.
“The NDLEA has kept faith with its mandate assiduously. Cannabis cultivation has continued to attract immediate attention because it is the most widely abused substance in Nigeria. In the year ending 2019, a total of 310.1 tons of Cannabis were seized and destroyed publicly. All together for that year, 612, 903.484 kilograms of drugs were seized.
“The arrest figures stand at 9,444 of drug-related offenders. A total of 1,195 convictions were recorded, while 795 drug-dependent persons were counseled. Drug trafficking was not abating during the lockdown. They continued with their nefarious trade notwithstanding COVID-19. Some of the seizures made include: 6,465.23 kilograms of Cannabis enroute Kano at Kogi; 3,962 kilograms of Cannabis enroute Kano at Benue; 1,960 kilograms of Cannabis at Edo; 621.0857 kilograms of Cannabis at Imo, and 267.123 kilograms of Cannabis at Abia.
“I have over the years alerted and acquainted you with the frightening dimension of drug manufacturing in Nigeria. That was mainly in relation to Methamphetamine. We are at our wits end to discover more Meth Labs not necessarily because they do not exist. A new version of manufacturing has reared its head, the introduction of Hydrophonic outfit where Cannabis is manipulated into the production of Hashish and Canaboil, both of which are illegal since they contravene the extant NDLEA Act. Would you believe the locations? The first in Jos run by a Chinese and the second in Victoria Island, Lagos run by a mixed nationality person – Nigeria/German,” he said.
According to Abdallah, the agency’s treatment and rehabilitation component of the drug demand reduction directorate is in dire need of an upgrade. He noted that medical attention given to drug-dependent persons is often the last stage of the war. “Along the course, many battles must have been to won. These are the battles of intervention, education, sensitization counseling, and psychotherapy which the Agency is ably competent to perform given the in-house expertise available.
“What is lacking is the en-tooling and capacity building required. Time has come for competent Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres to be fully built as anticipated by the NDLEA Act where psychotherapy and medical therapy should mutually reinforce each other. Perhaps what we need going forward is a concept summarized as “All of Government and Whole Society” working together. Additional to what the Federal Government brings to the table, as a nation we should identify and aggressively mobilize the public and private sectors and other strategic partners for a holistic response against the trafficking in and use of illicit substances.
“The essence would be to complement the Federal Government funding in the light of competing for national interests. This appears to be a promising, sustainable thrust that could put a damper on the real pandemic of our own nation – the drug pandemic. This consensus arrived at, would tackle the multi-dimensional problems bedeviling our nation rooted in drug abuse which causes internal insecurity, disruption of social and family cohesion, and an impinging stranglehold on the nation’s economic prosperity. Remember the concept “All of Government and the Whole Society. Gentlemen of the Press, the NDLEA has made its pitch. Will you stand up and be counted?”
– Jun. 22, 2020 @ 16:39 GMT |