From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohamed Marwa (retd), has described the public destruction and burning of 20 tonnes of assorted illicit drugs in Abuja on Tuesday as a further affirmation of the resolve of the anti-narcotic agency to wage a total war against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.
According to Marwa, “We may recall that when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign of the NDLEA on June 26, 2021, he declared that WADA should not just be a slogan, but a call to civil action by all Nigerians. Today’s public destruction of 20 tonnes of illicit drugs and substances, further buttresses that call to action.
To be destroyed here today is approximately 20,000 kilograms of illicit drugs worth billions of naira. Approximately, 19, 598 kilograms of these assorted illicit drugs were seized by the FCT Command, comprising 19, 178 kilograms of cannabis, 0.1 kilograms of cocaine, 0.009 kilograms of heroin and 420 kilograms of other psychotropic substances.
The remaining 362 kilograms, seized at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, comprised 173 kilograms of cocaine, 36 kilograms of heroin, 93 kilograms of ephedrine, 60 kilograms of methamphetamine, 58 grams of cannabis, 219 grams of Rohypnol and 150 grams of Tramadol. Just as we witness the public destruction of these 20,000 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs and substances today, let me bring to your notice that similar exercises have taken place in many states across Nigeria this year. Imagine the potentially dangerous situations that could result if a quantum of these drugs found their way into society.
In a statement by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, Marwa, who was represented at the occasion by the agency’s secretary, Mr Shadrach Haruna, noted that the illicit drugs and psychoactive substances were seized by the FCT and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Commands of the Agency. This is yet another evidence that NDLEA is relentless in its effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Nigerians. This exercise is taking place in accordance with the prescription of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) concerning the best method of disposing of seized drugs without polluting our environmental ecosystem or endangering public health.
While stating that the quantity of the drugs being destroyed is a reminder about the magnitude of the drug problem in the country, Marwa said the dire implications of the country’s drug prevalence rate is the reason the new NDLEA under his leadership has doubled down on efforts and now aggressively pursuing its mandate.
“To this end, NDLEA has been effectively repositioned more than ever before to curtail the production, cultivation, processing, importation, exportation, sales, trafficking and abuse of controlled drugs and illicit substances. We have had to transform into an intelligence-driven anti-narcotic organisation. We have reinforced our resolution to mitigate the country’s drug prevalence by non-stop, result-oriented drug supply reduction operations, leveraging an Offensive Action philosophy to carry the fight to those who trade and traffic in banned and controlled substances, he added.
He said with over 10,000 arrests, more than 1,000 jailed, and 5,579 counselled and rehabilitated in 10 months, we are not resting on our oars. This time around, we are going to clean the Augean Stable. We are getting more sophisticated equipment that will enable us to achieve our operational mandates. Our workforce has been motivated to perform with promotions and performance reward schemes, while we have also bolstered our strength with the employment of 5,000 officers and men this year.”
“The Agency is experiencing a resurgence and is being retrofitted to operate at full capacity. I can declare to you that the drug-fighting machine that is NDLEA is fully oiled and in optimum condition. You can rest assured that the Agency will not fail in its mandate to keep society safe, he added.
At the event were the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammad Musa Bello represented by Dr Abdulateef Bello; Chairman, FCT Council of Chiefs and the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Baba Adamu Yunusa, heads of security agencies in the FCT as well as Directors and other top officials of the NDLEA.