By Emma Njoku
Chairman, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), yesterday, said that the agency had arrested over 8,000 people between January and August, for alleged drug related offences.
Marwa made the disclosure at a Town Hall meeting in Badawa community, Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State. He said out of the number, about 1,600 had been convicted and serving various jail terms.
He added that over two million kilograms of assorted drugs was seized from the suspects during the period under review.
The NDLEA boss urged governor Ganduje not to support calls by some elected officials in the country for legalisation of cannabis sativa. He said the agency is currently doing so much to cut availability and accessibility to illicit drugs across the country, adding that any attempt to legalise the illicit substance would be a setback to the progress made, so far.
He said: “With over 8, 634 arrests; 2,776,000 kilograms of drugs worth over N100 billion seized; 1,630 convictions; 3,232 cases in court and over 4,000 drug users counselled and rehabilitated between January and now, we are already making substantial progress in our drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts.
“We are, however, convinced that the ongoing attempts by some of our elected officials to legalise cannabis, which is being abused by over 10.6 million Nigerians, will be a drawback for the achievements, so far. This is why I want to implore Your Excellency and Kano state not to support the attempt to legalise cannabis.”
Marwa warned landlords not to accommodate drug traffickers in their houses because NDLEA would not hesitate to seek forfeiture of any property used to store illicit drugs when the offenders are caught.
He commended governor Ganduje for making drug tests a prerequisite for public officials and those aspiring into public office in the state. He also appealed to the governor to support NDLEA with 25 hectares of land to build barracks in the state and a property that would house a zonal command office of the agency in Kano.
Meanwhile, governor Ganduje has opposed any attempt to legalise cannabis sativa in the country and vowed that no lawmaker from Kano state will support such a bid in the National Assembly.
Ganduje made the declaration when Gen. Marwa led top officials of the agency on a courtesy visit to him, as part of his ongoing War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy.
While granting the requests for land and accommodation for a zonal command, the governor assured his NDLEA boss that Kano has the highest number of federal lawmakers in the National Assembly, adding that none of them will support any attempt to legalise cannabis.