From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said it arrested 19,341 drug traffickers, seized 5452 kilograms of illicit drug worth N420billion, as well as recorded 3111 convictions between January 2021 to September 2022.
The chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, NDLEA, Brig General Buba Marwa (retd), stated this, on Thursday, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotics to defend the 2023 budget proposal of the agency.
Marwa added that the agency has also destroyed 714 hectares of cannabis, as well as counselled and rehabilitated over 12326 persons in its rehabilitation centers within the same period.
The NDLEA boss, while stating that there is need for the agency to be adequately funded, said about 15 million Nigerians are abusing drugs. Nevertheless he noted that the agency is up to the task of combating drug offences in the country.
According to him, “From 2021 January we have arrested over 19, 000 drug barons, about 28 are with us. We have seized 5452 million kilograms of illicit drug. The value of what we have seized comes to over 420 billion naira.
We have sent over 3000 to jail and we have counselled over 12000 in our rehabilitation centres.
” We have also destroyed cannabis farms of 714 hectares. The advocacy work we are doing across the country to persuade people to know that taking drugs is harmful.”
He added “in the course of 2022, I am glad to mention that the agency made history by recording the largest seizure ever of pure cocaine weighing over 2.1 metric tonnes, which is worth 315 million dollars or over 230 billion naira. We have received a court order and have already destroyed it.
“This was a unique operation, because we were able to arrest the five barons involved who were located in different parts of Lagos. We had to coordinate it properly so that none would be arrested one minute earlier than the others because they will alert the others and they would escape. But we were able to do it clinically for those five at the same time in one night.
“We are resolute in rising to the challenge of our mandate which is to eliminate the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, sale, trafficking and use of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances.”