Drugs, addiction and criminal activities | Dailytrust

Drugs, addiction and criminal activities

FILE PHOTO: Seized drugs at the NDLEA MMIA Command, Lagos
FILE PHOTO: Seized drugs at the NDLEA MMIA Command, Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted illicit drugs worth over N61billion in reported cases since January 2020. The agency is charged with the responsibility of tackling illicit drugs. However, besides the seizures, analysts believe there is strong correlation between drugs and crimes in Nigeria.

There is a reported hike in the distribution and use of illicit drugs, including cannabis sativa, cocaine and tramadol.

The incessant cases of drug abuse elicited several actions, including testing some government and law enforcement officials.

The agency’s drug control strategies are intended to address both her international obligations and local concerns to ensure that the country does not become a drug haven.

The agency has made more than nine interceptions of over 2, 000 kilograms of illicit drugs since January 2021.

The drugs were uncovered in a large cache at different locations in the country, the recent being at Tin Can Port, Lagos – 40 parcels of cocaine. The drug weighed 43.11 kilograms at an estimated street value of N32bn on a vessel brought into Nigeria from Brazil.

The agency also uncovered a warehouse for cannabis sativa in Benue State, while 600 blocks of compressed cannabis sativa weighing 600 kilogram was also discovered in a truck.

Also, 394 compressed parcels of illicit drugs were concealed in a new Toyota Hilux jeep. The vehicle was intercepted on the Okene-Lokoja expressway on Monday.

Operatives of the NDLEA in Ondo State also arrested nine dealers of illicit drugs and seized 1, 292 kilograms of cannabis sativa and its seeds.

The agency’s commander in the state, Mr Haruna Gagara, said out of the figure, 711.5kg of cannabis seeds was recovered from a forest in the Ago Oyibo area of Ogbese, Akure North Local Government Area.

“This seizure has thwarted the mass cultivation of an estimated 250 hectares of cannabis sativa farmland in Ondo State. This humongous cultivation, if allowed, would produce an estimated 443, 000 kilograms of cannabis,” he said.

He said that among the nine suspects arrested was a 19-year-old boy, adding that the operatives also intercepted a vehicle loaded with 580.5kg of the illicit drug along Ogbese-Owo road.

Drug use fuels criminality

A security expert and retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ambrose Aisabor, said the effect of drugs could be seen in rising crimes in the country, especially cases of kidnapping among the youth.

In a chat with Daily Trust Saturday, Aisabor said criminality would reduce drastically if the government put more efforts in tackling drug trafficking.

He said, “You cannot divorce drugs from criminalities. They go together because without drugs, criminality will not flourish. If you don’t take drugs you will be looking at the human angle when you are doing certain things and you would be talking about morality or so; the act of God-fearing would come to your mind.

“But once you take drugs you know you want to achieve certain unholy things, that drugs will enhance your performance.

“Many of these people that rape women are on drugs because you cannot just see a woman and your body will get moved like that. There must be some feelings. But the moment you are on drugs you don’t need any romance.

“If you are an armed robber or kidnapper and you want to kill somebody, if you are not on drugs you may feel sympathetic for such a person or persons, but if you are on drugs, any small provocation you are annoyed and you will not even regret the atrocities you have committed. When they kidnap they would negotiate for ransom and they would still have the mind to kill those people after paying the ransom.”

Urges gov’t to intensify efforts against hard drugs

He noted that a lot of youths take drugs because they want to satisfy their ego, adding that government must strive to rid the society of hard drugs, especially cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, tramadol and Indian hemp, which he said were all over the society.

“If you are able to eliminate all these drugs you are already fighting criminalities and insecurity,” he added.

Aisabor said the new chairman of the NDLEA gave a new impetus to the fight against drug trafficking with recent seizures across the country.

“Before he came, nobody was hearing of cocaine again in the country, but when he took over, within one week, many drugs had been seized at the airport. They also went to Tin Can Island. They also came to Edo, where they seized a large farm of Indian hemp,” the expert said.

Also speaking with our correspondent, the commander of the NDLEA at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Mr Ahmadu Garuba, described drug intake as the trigger of crimes and criminalities in the country.

He, however, said the officers and men of the command would continue to be proactive and deepen its intelligence operation to arrest drug traffickers and protect the people, especially the Nigerian youth, from drug exposure.

A human resource expert, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, also added that the high rate of drug addiction had been fueling insecurity in the country.

According to him, the upsurge in criminality in Nigeria in the past three years could be attributed to the influence of alcohol, narcotics and other dangerous drugs.

Abdullahi, who is the national coordinator of the Muslim Media Watch Group (MMWG), said Nigeria faced the challenge of terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, abduction, armed robbery, banditry, rape and other criminal activities mostly committed by the youth between the ages of 15 and 35.

He called for the support for the NDLEA to enable it tackle drug addiction.

He said the investigation revealed that the NDLEA suffered from inadequate funds, mismanagement of the little resources available, lack of manpower, equipment, facilities, regular training and retraining its personnel, low-morale of workers due to lack of incentives and welfare packages.

 

By Taiwo Adeniyi, Haruna Ibrahim, Abuja & Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos

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