Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said its operative made seizure of about one billion pills/tablets of Tramadol of dosages between 120mg and 400mg since its sales were outlawed in 2018.
The agency’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd.) spoke in Abuja during the ongoing commemoration of this year’s International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.
Abdallah described the usage of tramadol ills as a crisis that engulfed the nation leading to the seizure in 2018, which he said is another reason for concern in the country.
While reviewing the agency’s success in the last 10 years of operations, the chairman noted that the agency seized a total of 56, 745, 705, 555 kilograms of drugs and arrested 85, 058 persons for drug and drug-related offences.
He disclosed that the agency prosecuted and secured convictions in 16, 937 cases within this same period, adding that the drug demand reduction programme of the agency anchored on anti-drug sensitisation, treatment and rehabilitation had rescued many from the menace of drug abuse.
“Properties and assets of drug traffickers have been seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in accordance with the Enabling Act.” Abdallah added.
He, however, acknowledged the assistance of the UNDODC in facilitating a sub-regional conference in West Africa on the Tramadol crisis in August 2018 and for sponsoring officers and other stakeholders to India to discuss the issue of Tramadol smuggling into Nigeria.
He also commended the bold political decision of President Muhammadu Buhari, for setting up the Presidential Advisory Committee for Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, headed by General Buba Marwa (rtd.).
“I am aware the committee has worked tirelessly in the interest of the nation. As we await the submission of the report, and the implementation by Mr. President, let me also seize this opportunity to appreciate and thank Mr. President for approving the immediate recruitment in 2019 of 5,000 new personnel out of the 15,000 personnel earlier approved for the agency in 2016.
He said the theme: “Health for Justice, Justice for Health,” is to address three broad issues of drug-dependent persons, drug prevention, social inclusion and building knowledge for justice and health.
“The theme presupposes that effective responses to the challenges of drugs require inclusive and accountable institutions of criminal justice, health and social services to work hand-in-hand to provide integrated solutions, in line with the international drug control conventions, human rights obligations and sustainable development goals,” he further explained.
The NDLEA boss also called for more inter-agency synergy and mutual respect for mandates of the respective agencies as to do more in addressing the predisposing factors that make drugs trafficking and abuse attractive.