The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Thursday burnt over 560,068.31414 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in the Badagary area of Lagos State. Punch Metro gathered that the exercise was the largest to be destroyed in the 32-year history of the anti-narcotic agency, according to NDLEA’s Director of Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the exercise is a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they’ll continue to lose their huge investments in the criminal trade if they fail to back out and look for other legitimate businesses.
A breakdown of the 560,068.31414 kilograms of the substances burnt at a brief ceremony includes 7,414.519kg cocaine; 161,206kg heroin; 1,144.8kg methamphetamine; 60,144kg ephedrine; 311,416.19162kg cannabis sativa; 10,091.83kg khat; 273.223kg tramadol; 0.000170kg benylin with codeine and 8,207.7505kg of other psychotropic substances, which were seized by the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) command; Lagos state command; and the Seme Special Area command from persons convicted and sentenced by the Federal High Court as well as abandoned seizures.
Speaking at the ceremony, Gen. Marwa said the agency has arrested over 17,647 drug offenders of which 2,385 have been convicted in court, and seized over 3.5 million kilos of assorted drugs since January 2021.
“I stand here today before you to give the assurance that NDLEA will continue to explore various ways, legal and within the ambit of orthodox drug law enforcement, to address the drug problem in the country. And there is no better time than now to adopt evidence-based programmes and policies to counter the destructive impact of the drug scourge, which has pervaded our society in the past few years,” he said.
While assuring that Agency will not only focus on drug supply reduction, he added, “we are equally broadening our drug demand reduction efforts, and especially working hard on drug use prevention programmes. Among other measures, we are reaching out to young people through prevention messages on our social media platforms. We are not oblivious to the fact that some teenagers and young adults are being exposed to drugs at a very young age, particularly in deprived circumstances. The agency is working with other institutions to provide educational opportunities, vocational skills training and other socio-economic support for this vulnerable group.
“In everything we do, we strive to align our efforts with international best practices. Only a few weeks ago, NDLEA launched a 24/7 toll-free call centre for people who are drug-dependent or suffering from drug use disorder, their families, employers of labour, and members of the public who need any form of help. The centre which has a team of dedicated, well-trained professionals in the mental health practices including psychologists, psychotherapist, psychiatrist and counsellors, currently receives calls in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo languages.
“We equally appreciate the contribution of our local and international partners, who are instrumental to the successes we have recorded. We also thank members of society who are working with us to safeguard the health of our communities.
“I urge all stakeholders in this campaign against abuse and trafficking of illicit substances to not relent but intensify support for NDLEA. On our part, we will continue to identify new approaches and expand our scope of operations to ensure that our communities, states and country is safe, healthy, and secure.”
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