NDLEA destroys 116 million hectaresof cannabis farms, convicts 20, arrests 205
NDLEA officials in action on a cannabis farmland
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said that at least, 20 persons have been convicted for trafficking illicit drugs in the last one year.
The number of convictions, according to the law enforcement agency, came from 246 suspects arrested for the offence in Edo State within one year.
NDLEA also said that over 116 million hectares of cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) farms were destroyed while 29, 516kg of different types of hard drugs had been seized.
The State Commander of the NDLEA, Buba Wakawa, who disclosed this at the 2015 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Benin, explained that the convictions and arrests were secured within an assessment period of June 26, 2014 to June 26, 2015.
Wakawa noted that as part of efforts aimed at reducing the demand for illicit substances in the state, 126 drug-dependent persons had been counselled, rehabilitated and re-integrated into the society.
The commander, however, called for a sustainable collaboration with the state government and members of the public to enable the agency to achieve its objectives.
â€œMembers of the public must be sensitive and report suspicious drug activities in their neighbourhood, which will help in ensuring that every drug trafficker is arrested and prosecuted.
â€œMay I also use this opportunity to appeal to the Edo State Drug Abuse Control Committee, through the Ministry of Health to partner with us in the planning and implementation of (illicit drug trafficking) eradication programmes,â€ Wakawa added.
In a lecture on the prevention of disorders induced by illicit drug, a specialist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Benin, Dr. OlaniyiAyilara, stressed the need for the provision of improved public healthcare facilities to promote early diagnosis and rehabilitation of affected persons.
Ayilara also called for effective legislation to aid in the reduction and eradication of the illicit use of drugs and alcohol.
Meanwhile, the NDLEA in Akwa-Ibom State, has also announced the seizure of nine bags of marijuana; bottles of marijuana mixed with locally-made gin along with heroin and cocaine from dealers in Atai-Otoro, Abak Local Government Area.
Seized was also a box containing illicit drugs, which were allegedly transported from Benin, Edo State to AkwaIbom.
The state NDLEA commander, Mr. Shadow Gaura, told journalists in Uyo on Thursday that the raid was carried out to dislodge those who had been engaging in illicit drugs, including some youths who were said to have ignorantly consumed the narcotics.
â€œAll these nine bags including the briefcase box contain Indian hemp seized from various places during our routine raid operations. These nine bags were apprehended in Attai-Otoro, Abak Local Government Area.
â€œBecause of the intensity of our operations here in Uyo, the dealers have run to the villages where they continue with the illegal business but unfortunately, their customers still trace them through their network to those villages to buy these drugs,â€ he said.
The Commander said the event was also to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said the theme of the event was, â€œLetâ€™s Develop Our Lives, Our Communities, Our Identities Without Drugs.â€
He lamented that the rate at which the youths in the state consume narcotics and other illicit drugs was alarming, adding that something needed to be done to salvage them.
He urged parents to monitor their wards and friends so that they could prevent them from abusing drug.
Gaura observed that while parents were busy investing in the positive growth and well-being oftheir children, drug abuse might make this possible.
He said, â€œWe are combing those hideouts and we are recording huge successes through arrest of culprits, even some of them who succeed and come back to town with the drugs, would be intercepted by our men. All those we apprehended, have been charged to court.â€
In a similar event to commemorate the international day against drug abuse held in Cross River State, the NDLEA said 185 suspects were arrested with drug in the state.
The state Commander of NDLEA, Mrs. AnthoniaEdeh, said the suspects were arrested with drug exhibit totalling 1.4 tonnes of cannabis sativa, 6.4035kg of cocaine and 18g of heroin.
According to her, the arrested suspects include 175 male and 10 females.
Antonia added that the commandâ€™s anti-narcotic efforts also led to the discovery of 4.741 acres of cannabis sativa farmlands at Abijan, EtungLocal Government Area of the state, which the agency later destroyed.
The NDLEA commander pegged the street value of the drugs seized as N1.1m and the destroyed farms as N70m.
The NDLEA commander added, â€œAlso we counselled seventy drug dependent persons while nine referrals were fully rehabilitated and reintegrated back to their families.
â€œDrugs are threat to the environment and illicit drug trafficking undermines governance, institutions and societal cohesion. On this international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking we therefore re-affirm our commitment to this shared responsibility within our communities and among the family and Nations.â€
The NDLEA Commander in Niger State, Mr. Iweajunwa Okechukwu, also said on Friday that the country has the highest number of persons serving various jail terms for drug related offences worldwide.
He said during the international day against drug abuse programme in the state that Niger has a serious issue of drug abuse especially the prescription drugs and psychotropic substances such as Tramadol, Rohypnol and Diazepam.
According to him other drugs abused in the state include Librium, cough syrup brands with codeine, Sukudia (suck and die), glue, solutions, petrol, gutter dirt, Zakami, lizard dung and cannabis sativa (Indian hemp).
Okechukwu explained that the harmful habit was common among the youth, married women, secondary and primary school pupils.
He urged parents, teachers, religious leaders, state government and traditional leaders to see drug abuse as a societal problem that must be tackled.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commands of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps has initiated a move to check drug abuse among drivers, motorists and other road users in the state.
The agencies warned that the use of alcohol and drugs while driving had dispatched many motorists and drivers to their early graves.
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