NDLEA arrests 18, 940 drug traffickers in 18 months
• Seeks drug tests for security agencies, drivers
• ’Nexus exists between illicit drugs, spate of insecurity’
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested about 18, 940 drug traffickers in the last 18 months.
The agency also said Nigeria has the unenviable profile of being a leading drug trafficking hub in Africa and other countries with about 10.6 million cannabis users in 2018.
NDLEA therefore called for drug integrity tests for security agencies, drivers, students, politicians and parents.
Chairman of NDLEA, Brig. Gen Buba Mohammed Marwa (retd), disclosed this yesterday at the conference of Initiatives Against Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nigeria (IAASAN ) 2022 in Abuja.
He stated that Nigeria has a big drug problem on its hands, especially in the light of the damning fact that drug abuse and addiction have reached a monstrous proportion in the country.
Marwa lamented that the abuse of illicit drugs has destroyed our youths, families and communities adding that the activities of the NDLEA in the past 18 months, coupled with the intelligence and empirical facts at the disposal of various security organisations in the country, have shown a strong nexus between illicit drugs and the spate of insecurity being unleashed by terrorists, bandits and other non-state destabilising actors.
He said: “ The abuse and trafficking of illicit substances complicate the existentialist threat of insecurity facing the country and we want to deepen societal awareness of this danger and thus contribute to the maximisation of the options available to ameliorate the problem. For people who know the implications, the following facts should be a cause for concern: One, that the country’s drug use prevalence, as of 2018, was 14.4per cent, which is almost three times the global average of 5.6per cent.
“Two, the arrest of 18, 940 drug traffickers in the last 18 months is an indication of the magnitude of the problem, and indeed a problem with dire consequences. Today, the public is familiar with NDLEA’s arrests, prosecutions, convictions and seizures. We are doing much more behind the scenes.”
The NDLEA Chairman noted that the agency has started a massive advocacy campaign aimed at mobilising society to join in collaborative efforts to shield vulnerable groups, especially, young people from being amenable to drug abuse.
Marwa observed that the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) bill will soon be passed into law, adding that the bill will update and give more teeth to regulations guiding the training of pharmacists and practice of pharmacy, and also deal with prescription and severe penalties for pharmacists who are involved in unprofessional activities.
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of IAASAN, Princess Raphael, lamented that there are drugs that are not over the counter drugs that require doctors’ prescription but these drugs are sold over the counter at the various pharmacies across the country.
She stressed the need to regulate the pharmacies and monitor what they are doing, adding that the organisation is working to catch the younger population and ensure that they don’t get involved in drugs.