N800bn illicit drugs seized, 42,105 offenders nabbed – Marwa

The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), says the agency has seized N800bn worth of illicit substances and arrested 42,105 offenders, including 46 barons, in the last three years.

Marwa gave the figures on Monday when he received the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, at the NDLEA National Headquarters, Garki, Area 11, Abuja.

“The criminal elements rely on drugs to carry out their criminalities and that is why we have been very ferocious in our offensive action against them to cut access and availability of these illicit drugs. As a result, in about three years we have arrested 42,105 drug offenders, including 46 barons; seized 7,500 tons of illicit drugs worth about N800bn.

“In fact, sometime last year, we seized over $300m worth of illicit drugs; 1,057 hectares of cannabis farms destroyed and 8,350 offenders convicted while 29,400 drug users have been counselled and rehabilitated within the same period,” Marwa said.

He thanked the military for supporting the NDLEA in terms of logistics and training. He advised the military to consider building rehabilitation centres in military hospitals for their personnel that may have issues with substance abuse.

In his remarks, the CDS assured the NDLEA boss of his commitment to help expose drug traffickers and abusers, while promising that the Nigerian military would strengthen its synergy with the NDLEA to curtail the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.

Musa said, “We know the challenges of drugs and how the use of illicit drugs has affected Nigeria’s name. And when Nigeria is mentioned abroad, everybody thinks about drugs, but you and your team have turned that around, at least now, people have seen that sense of sincerity in addressing the drug issue in Nigeria. We know it is not easy, because a lot of people have benefited so much from it and they will do anything to sustain their illicit businesses.

“I want to assure you that the members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are fully behind you. We are proud of you and what you have been achieving and we will continue to support you until the menace of drugs is totally eliminated in the country. We know the influence of drug use and what it has done to us, creating a lot of issues all over the country, which is very alarming.

“Drug use has slipped into so many places, and for members of the Armed Forces; we’re not excluded. Now we have introduced as part of our recruitment processes that for our people to go for courses, they must take drug tests, because this will ensure that personnel of the Armed Forces are doing the right thing and are in the right frame of mind. So, we’ll continue to do that and continue to intensify our efforts.”

(Punch)

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