Temitope Felix, Abuja

 

DAILY COURIER – The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Thursday, destroyed over 560,068.314 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in the Badagary area of Lagos State.

The substance destroyed in a brief ceremony in Badagary, was the largest in the history of the agency’s existence, a statement by the NDLEA Spokesperson, Femi Babafemi revealed.

The agency gave a breakdown of the substances to include: 7,414.519kg cocaine; 161,206kg heroin; 1,144.8kg methamphetamine; 60,144kg ephedrine; 311,416.19162kg cannabis Sativa; 10,091.83kg khat; 273.223kg tramadol; 0.000170kg benylin with codeine and 8,207.7505kg of other psychotropic substances.

According to the NDLEA, some of the substances were seized from the Lagos International airport Command; Lagos State command; and the Seme Special Area command from persons convicted and sentenced by the Federal High Court, as well as abandoned seizures.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman/CEO of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa, said the exercise was a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they will continue to lose their huge investments if they fail to back out from criminal trade.

He said: “I stand here today before you to give the assurance that NDLEA will continue to explore various ways, legal and within the ambit of orthodox drug law enforcement, to address the drug problem in the country. And there is no better time than now to adopt evidence-based programmes and policies to counter the destructive impact of the drug scourge, which has pervaded our society in the past few years.

“It is gratifying to know that our drug law enforcement efforts are not in vain. Our efforts not only resulted in the seizure of the aforementioned drugs, but also culminated in the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the offenders in court.

“Since January 2021, we have arrested over 17,647 drug offenders, of which 2,385 have been convicted in court. In the process, we have seized over 3.5 million kilos of assorted drugs.”

Marwa added that the agency was broadening the drug demand reduction efforts and working hard on drug use prevention programmes.

Other measures include reaching out to young people through prevention messages on our social media platforms.

“We are not oblivious of the fact that some teenagers and young adults are being exposed to drugs at a very young age, particularly in deprived circumstances. The agency is working with other institutions to provide educational opportunities, vocational skills training and other socio-economic support for this vulnerable group”, the chairman said.

He added that the NDLEA had launched a 24/7 toll-free call centre for people who are drug-dependent or suffering from drug use disorder, and members of the public who need any form of help.

“The centre which has a team of dedicated, well-trained professionals in the mental health practices including psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and counsellors, currently receives calls in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo languages”, the statement said.

Marwa commended the officers for their commitment and urged all stakeholders in the campaign against abuse and trafficking of illicit substances to not relent, but intensify support for NDLEA.