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Kano, Katsina, Plateau lead in NDLEA’s arrests

Other states announced for having large quantity of illicit drugs seized by the agency were Edo, Ondo, Delta, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states.Briefing newsmen in…

Other states announced for having large quantity of illicit drugs seized by the agency were Edo, Ondo, Delta, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja as part of this year’s World Drugs Day celebration, Chairman of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said Kano State has the highest number of arrests in 2012 with 705 male suspects, while Katsina State came second with 411 suspects, which comprised of 407 male and for female.
He said Plateau is third with the arrest of 384 persons, made up of 369 male and 15 female.
Fourth on the list was Ekiti State with 383 suspects, comprising   349 male and 34 female; followed by Lagos State that had 321 persons, made up of 305 male and 16 female, while Delta State came sixth with 292 suspects, out of whom 243 were male and 49 female.
Giade said the states with the highest arrest of people dealing in drugs were not the same with those the agency made seizure and recovery of large quantity of drugs, adding that Edo State led in drug seizures with 81,541.71 kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs.
This he said was followed closely by Ondo State with 61,246.35 kilogrammes of seizures, Delta State with 23,418.48 kilogrammes, while Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti States followed closely with 8,469.99; 7,232.08 and 6,685.23 kilogrammes respectively.
The NDLEA boss said in 2012, the agency adopted various measures that led to the destruction of 1,404.27 hectares of cannabis farms. “A total of 8,052 suspected drug traffickers were investigated within the period
under review. This comprised of 7,510 male and 542 female. We successfully intercepted 233,699.875 kilogrammes of narcotics. The seizures include 228,794.13 kilogrammes of cannabis, 3,905.447 kilogrammes of psychotropic substances, 461.15 kilogrammes of ephedrine,211.325 kilogrammes of heroin, 176.55 kilogrammes of methamphetamine, 131.888 kilogrammes of cocaine and19.385 kilogrammes of amphetamine,” Giade stated.  
He said the agency has saved 40 young Nigerians in 2012 alone from premature death outside the country as they were arrested by the agency operatives while trying to smuggle drugs to Malaysia, Indonesia, China and other countries with capital punishment for drug trafficking.
According to him, since the agency became operational in 1990, over 3.4 million kilograms of illicit drugs has been taken from our society and 21,871 drug offenders convicted.
“We have played a cardinal role in preventing the use of West Africa as a drug trafficking hub. We have also successfully intercepted a total of 3,434,966.23 kilogramsof narcotics from drug barons and they includes 2,827,861.70 kilograms of cannabis, 178,120.73 kilograms of cocaine, 195,283.92 kilograms of heroin and 233,699 kilograms of psychotropic substances,” Giade explained.
The NDLEA boss listed some remarkable achievements to include the single seizure of 14,200 kilograms of cocaine at the Tincan Island Port, Lagos in 2006. The seizure was rated the largest single seizure of cocaine in Africa and fifth largest in the world.
It could be recalled that one Akindele Ikumoluyi who allegedly specializes in sponsoring drug couriers to Europe and America was arrested and convicted. In addition, two drug barons, a Chinese, Richard Wang and a Taiwanese, Fong Chui Sen who imported 450.400 kilograms of cocaine from Chile were among other drug barons successfully convicted.
“Our impressive scorecard made the United States government to remove Nigeria from the Drug Majors List in 2010. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which has further enhanced our working relationship with the United States. Today, there is a specialized Joint Unit comprising of NDLEA officers and that of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (USDEA). More drug barons shall be exposed in the days ahead.
“The agency uncovered five clandestine laboratories used for the production of methamphetamine, a class ‘A’ psychotropic substance. Four of these illicit drug production factories were discovered in Lagos, while the fifth laboratory was detected in Nanka village, Anambra State. The estimated monetary value of seized drugs in 2012 hit N33.1 billion. We are glad to have dispossessed drug syndicates of such huge sums of money,” he said.
It will be recalled that cannabis used to be the only locally produced drug in the country before the recent discovery of methamphetamine production laboratories. Trafficking in methamphetamine has also assumed a new threat because of its rapidly growing global market. Locally produced methamphetamine is mainly smuggled to Asia, Europe, South Africa and United States.
Methamphetamine production poses a public health risk. The effluents (gaseous by-products) and liquid wastes can cause acute poisoning of living beings, while solid waste generated during methamphetamine production pollutes the environment and endangers human lives. The NDLEA however said that it is working with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to prevent diversion of precursor chemicals used for illicit drug production.
The agency has had series of fears and intellectual battles with heavily armed and well funded drug cartel members who in the past attacked and killed the agency operatives. They also burnt the agency’s operational vehicle, offices and the residential houses.
The agency to halt such attacks, organized re-training programmes for its officers and further armed them with sophisticated weapons, which is yielding the desired results.
Another challenge faced by NDLEA is that of the connivance of some corrupt prison officials in setting free convicted drug barons.
It took the NDLEA about two years to realize what was happening before the agency took drastic action that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of some prison officials linked to the deal.
After such arrests, instead of being scared out of the act, some drug barons still hire drug couriers, who either ingest drugs; hide them in their anal cavity for men, while women put them in their private parts as well as hair.
Our reporter observed how suspects were caught with tied wraps of drugs on their waist, buttocks and breast, while some concealed them in bags and luggages.
Most recently, cocaine was intercepted by NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and other entry points into Nigeria. They were concealed in towel handles, coins, garden shear handles, sandals, compact disc, condoms, candles, food items and even roasted chicken.
Cocaine was also intercepted in milk and can food tins that were industrially concealed.
In the same vein, heroin was also intercepted in some motor spare parts, cooking pots, herbal drugs, rugs, football, jewelries, beer and even pineapple juice, just as cocaine that is powdery was processed and smuggled to Nigeria as liquid; in form of cream but was intercepted by NDLEA operatives.
Giade solicited for the support of the public, state and local government authorities in winning the drug war and advised parents to ensure that they monitor the movements as well as activities of their children as majority of cases of drug abuse happen among youths.
He said the drug addicts spread across the country are not placed in punishment places but places meant to rehabilitate them and prepare them for a peaceful return to the larger society.