The Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen Mohammed Marwa (Rtd), has said a total of 12,306 suspects were arrested by the operatives of the Agency in the last one year.

He said this on Monday, while addressing a press conference, in Abuja, adding that the Agency has also apprehended seven barons in connection with an illicit drug in the country.

He affirmed that the achievements of the agency in the last one year is the best in 30 years.

Marwa said 1,400 offenders were convicted of offences of drug peddling while 1,502 cases were left pending in courts adding that, over 3.4 million kilograms of assorted drugs and cash worth over N130 billion were seized last year.

The NDLEA boss further disclosed that 406 hectares of Cannabis farms were destroyed while 7, 761 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated in NDLEA facilities across the country.

Highlighting some of the spectacular seizures recorded by the Agency since January 2021, Marwa said they include, 230 tons of cannabis in Edo State in February and a recent seizure of over 100 tones of psychotropic substance across the country in the past two weeks, “451, 807 Captagon tablets, weighing 71.119 kg in September at Apapa Seaport, Lagos. This was the first-ever recorded seizure of the drug in the West and Central African regions.

“1,994, 400 capsules of Tramadol in February at the Apapa Port, another 144, 400 bottles of Codeine syrup in March and in October, 32.9 kg of cocaine.

“43.11 kg of cocaine in February at Tin Can Seaport and another 22, 590 kg of Codeine syrup at the Port in September, 4, 996, 200 capsules of Tramadol, weighing 2,498 kg in May at the Onne Port and another interception of 100,000 (100ml) bottles of Codeine cough syrups weighing 15, 325kg in 500 cartons at the port in June.

“In December 2021 alone, over 34, 000 kilograms of cannabis smuggled from Ghana were intercepted at the Eko Atlantic City Beach while more than 8.3million capsules and tablets of Tramadol were seized in Lagos a week before Christmas.

“Just last week, about 1.5million capsules of the same drug loaded in Onitsha, Anambra state heading to Kebbi and Kano were also intercepted by our men in Edo State,” he said.

He said the agency’s series of interceptions and seizures of cocaine and heroin at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport remains the epicentre of the spectacular seizures, including what stands today as the biggest single seizure from an individual in 15 years, which is 26.840kg of cocaine smuggled from Brazil in January, 24.05 kg of Heroin in April, 27.95 kg of Cocaine in May and 26.15kg of Heroin in May last year.

NDLEA boss said that the agency performance led to drug supply reduction, interdiction and reformation of the agency that was underfunded and under staff.

According to him, the structural reform efforts resulted in the creations of new directorates and creation of 14 zonal commands.

General Marwa explained that the reforms in NDLEA, “Could not have come at a better time because the dire findings of the National Drug Use and Health Survey of 2018 was a wake-up call that showed clearly that procrastination was an invitation for a national catastrophe.

“Having 14.3 million Nigerians abusing drugs, with 10.6 million addicted to cannabis portends grave consequences. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is the government that read the situation correctly and subsequently took the bold and decisive step to revamp and gird the NDLEA for the task of cleansing Nigeria from the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.”

Answering questions from newsmen, Marwa said, a special task force is currently working across the country to track and dismantle drug cartels behind the production and distribution of methamphetamine, popularly called Mkpuru Mmiri, being abused by youths in parts of the country.

He challenged communities across Nigeria to take ownership of the war against drug abuse as those in South-East states are doing by standing up to those engaging in abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs.

In his words, “If you look at the preponderance of the dealers in drugs, I am not saying anything new but the South East has the predominance and that is a fact. The greatest efforts by communities to rid the country and their communities of drug use are from the South East. Clearly, in the same South East, they are doing two things; first, they are telling their fellow travellers who are not decent, that look you are the very few who are spoiling our names here. Stop it!

“And more importantly, they are riding their communities of drug abuse, they have taken the ownership of the war against drug abuse especially the Mkpuru-Mmiri,” he said and urged the entire country to take an example of the ownership of the war against drug abuse from the South-East.

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