THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday destroyed over 560,068kg of seized illicit drugs in Lagos.
A statement released by NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi said it is the largest quantity of drugs to be destroyed in the 32-year history of the anti-narcotic agency.
Chairman of NDLEA Mohamed Marwa, according to the statement, said the exercise is a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they will continue to lose their vast 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 illicit substances burnt at a brief ceremony in the Badagry area of Lagos include: 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.
The agency said the drugs were seized at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos State Command, and the Seme Special Area Command, from persons convicted and sentenced by the Federal High Court. The drugs also include abandoned seizures.
Speaking at the ceremony, Marwa said, “It is gratifying to know that our drug law enforcement efforts are not in vain. Our efforts not only resulted in the seizure of the aforementioned drugs but also culminated in the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the offenders in court.
“Since January 2021, we have arrested over 17,647 drug offenders, of which 2,385 have been convicted in court. In the process, we have seized over 3.5 million kilos of assorted drugs.
“The business of today is yet another indication that officers and men of NDLEA are not relenting in the pursuit of the Agency’s mandate to make Nigeria safe from the drug scourge.
“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,” the anti-drug boss said.
Marwa assured that the agency will not only focus on drug supply reduction but will equally broaden the drug demand reduction efforts, especially working hard on drug use prevention programmes.
“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,” he added.
Marwa commended the officers and men of the agency for their commitment that has made the seizures possible.