[UPDATED] NDLEA gives conflicting figures on number of drug traffickers arrested in 2 years

THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has given conflicting figures on the number of drug traffickers it arrested in two years.

However, the Agency spokesperson Femi Babafemi has said that it was an error.

At an award ceremony held on Tuesday, December 27, in Yola Adamawa state the NDLEA chairman Mohammed Marwa was reported to have said that 18,940 traffickers were arrested in two years.

Marwa also added that 3,324 offenders were convicted during the period.

However, The ICIR recalls that, in an address at an end of the year awards/commendation ceremony at the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja on December 20, Marwa disclosed that the agency arrested 23,907 traffickers and seized drugs worth over N450 billion within 22 months.

Marwa, while speaking at Yola, where he received an award of excellence from the Adamawa Honours Society (AHS), said the NDLEA secured 3,324 convictions, seized 5.4 kg of different control drugs and narcotic substances, and rehabilitated 3,326 drug abusers, within two years.

He stressed that the agency had recently acquired drug and lie testing kits, adding that intending couples should be tested for drug use before they get married.

“Drug test would determine the innocence or otherwise of couples and it will save marital relationships from collapse due to abuse of drugs,” he said.

Marwa noted that the NDLEA is working to achieve reduction in supply and the demand for drugs, noting that the development will reduce the high rate of drugs consumption in the country.

The NDLEA boss however, called on parents, community and religious leaders to intensify efforts in helping the agency to achieve a drug free society.

While commending the Adamawa House of Assembly for enacting laws against drug related offences, he also commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for supporting the agency in the fight against illicit drugs.

Meanwhile, on December 20, the same NDLEA boss reportedly disclosed that the agency has arrested 23,907 traffickers and seized drugs worth over N450 billion within 22 months, from January 2021 to October 2022.

Marwa disclosed that over 5.5 million kg of drugs were seized within that period, noting that 3,434 offenders were convicted.

“Within the period under review, the Agency arrested 23,907 drug traffickers, including 29 barons. Our seizure was over 5,500 tons or 5.5 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs, which together with cash seized are worth over N450 billion.

“In these 22 months, we have record convictions of 3,434 offenders. We have equally made good strides in our drug demand reduction efforts, where the number of those counselled and rehabilitated is 16,114.”

The ICIR observed the discrepancy in figures released by the NDLEA in a period of two weeks.

Based on records obtained from the NDLEA, The ICIR had reported that over 6.2 million kilograms of different kinds of drugs were seized in the space of eight years by the agency.

The drugs seized are cocaine, heroin, cannabis, meth and some other psychotropic substances.

The report stressed that in 2021 alone, the NDLEA seized 3.4 million (3,480,368.80) kilograms of drugs while as of June 2022, the agency seized 176,818.08kg of drugs.

In the report, The ICIR also gathered that the NDLEA counselled 27,541 clients against the use of drugs between 2015 and second quarter of 2022.




     

     

    After The ICIR pointed out the discrepancy, the NDLEA spokesman Babafemi said it was an error from a citation read before the presentation of the award to the agency boss.

    He added that the figure was not from the agency boss.

    He maintained that the accurate figure of arrested drug traffickers within the period in question is 23,907.

    *Editor’s note: This report was edited to reflect the clarification from the NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi. 

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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