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NDLEA loses steam against Yobe drug peddlers

Prevention of drug trafficking, intake and rehabilitation of drug addicts have remained a difficult task for officials of the agency to carry out even as…

Prevention of drug trafficking, intake and rehabilitation of drug addicts have remained a difficult task for officials of the agency to carry out even as consumption of outlawed substances like Indian hemp and tramol has been on the rise in the state.

This is worsened by the fact that even if the agency chooses to arrest peddlers, findings by Kanem Trust shows that the cell at the agency’s headquarters where suspects are held for investigations before being prosecuted in court can only accommodate 20 people whereas far more persons are preyed by the agency. In addition, whenever convicted offenders complete jail terms, they are believed to be returning to their old ways because there is no rehabilitation home where they could be trained and reintegrated into the society.  

Officials of the agency fear that while ex- convicts get back to the old trade  without any resistance from any quarter, controlling political thuggery and avoidable accidents during campaigns as the 2011 elections draw nearer will be very difficult for the NDLEA.

This is because most political campaigns are carried out by youths who operate under the influence of drugs and are always willing to carry out orders from their benefactors who are office seekers.

Many places in Damaturu including the Monday market, Abasha, ‘Kandahar’ and offices of political parties including the ANPP, PDP, AC, among others, are now a safe haven for drug dealers and barons.

It is alleged that politicians who want to make their presence felt at public functions, mobilise allowances for the thugs to buy drugs so that they would be in the “right frame of mind” to chant the slogans of their mentors for a very long time.

“We normally get two allowances from them.One is for ‘charging our heads’ (drugs) and the other is for food whenever we are following a politician aspiring for an office,” Isma’il  Buba who agrees that he is a political thug told Kanem Trust.

“On a good day, one can go back home with as much as N3,000,” he added.

Barrister Nuhu Sambo, a legal practitioner in Damaturu, said issues of drug abuse, political thuggery and other social vices cannot be contained unless government gives attention to issues affecting the performance of the drug fighters.

“The truth is that governments at all levels are not willing to curtail activities relating to illegal drug consumption and trafficking because drug addicts  are easy tools which politicians use to achieve their aim,” Barrister Nuhu said.

The Yobe State Commander of the NDLEA, Prince Ben Ikali, said poor logistics is affecting the performance of his men even as drug related crimes are on the increase in all the 17 local government areas of the state.

“Despite our handicap, we are doing our best but unless the Federal and Yobe State governments improve on what we have, moderating drug related activities will be difficult especially now that election is drawing nearer,” Prince Ikali said.

He said  drug trafficking and abuse had assumed a frightening dimension in major towns of Yobe State  and that between January and early May this year, the agency arrested 76 suspects and seized 156kg of different types of drugs.

Cont’d on page 45

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