From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized over 100 million pills of pharmaceutical opioid and tramadol in 22 months.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the anti-narcotics agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd), who made the disclosure yesterday said the seized substances could have impacted negatively on the youth population and national productivity in the country. He spoke during the Command’s Awards/Commendations and decoration of newly promoted officers at the agency’s National Headquarters, Abuja.
He said: “Within the period under review, the agency arrested 23, 907 drug traffickers, including 29 barons. Our seizure was over 5,500 tons or 5.5 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs, which together with cash seized were worth over N450 billion.
“In the same period, we have taken the fight to the doorsteps of cannabis growers by destroying 772. 5 hectares of cannabis farms. In these 22 months, we have record convictions of 3, 434 offenders. We have equally made good strides in our drug demand reduction efforts where the number of those counselled and rehabilitated is 16, 114.
“The figures are mere statistics until you view them through the lens of human impact and the good or harm that could have come to society, the impact on public health, security as well as law and order, if those dangerous drugs had gone to the street. Take for instance, the 100 million pills of tramadol seized in the past 22 months. If those pills had gone into circulation and ended up in the hands of young people, it would take a heavy toll on lives, families, productivity and, ultimately, the GDP of the country because it will affect these young people who are the engine room of productivity.”
Justifying the essence of the ceremony, Marwa said “there is no gainsaying that our dedication to duty has been the driving force behind our good performance; at the same time, it is also not an exaggeration to say that our good performance is catalysed by motivation. As proven right by events in the past 24 months, management’s decision to deploy a multi-pronged motivational mechanism to improve the organisation’s work ethic is part of the recipe for the resurgence of the agency and the resultant spectacular performance. On that score, management is committed to doing everything possible to improve productivity on the job. Part of that effort is why we are here today, namely, the Command’s awards and commendations.
“We usually calculate our performance as monthly, quarterly or yearly appraisals. But drug law enforcement is generally a continuum, hence, I am wont to always appraise our efforts from January 2021, when we began far-reaching reforms, reviewed our strategies and rejigged the existing systems to accommodate innovations.