THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) successfully prosecuted 3,412 drug offenders in 2023, said the agency’s chairman, Buba Marwa, a retired general, on Wednesday, February 7.
Marwa said among those prosecuted were 15 drug kingpins who bagged 168 years jail terms collectively.
Addressing journalists at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja at an event to honour outstanding staff and command of the agency, Marwa vowed to rev the fight against illicit drugs in the country.
“According to our statistics, we recorded 13, 664 arrests leading to the seizure of 1,606, 799.09 kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs and 3,412 convictions with a total of 5, 570 offenders charged to court in 2023. It’s indeed a year that at least 15 drug kingpins bagged 168 years of imprisonment collectively.
“That is a substantial improvement over our performance in 2022. Notably, in 2023, we also ramped up our enforcement action against cannabis farms and carried out at least seven successful major operations, leading to the discovery and destruction of over 206 hectares of cannabis plantations,” Marwa stated.
The NDLEA boss also explained that the agency intensified its war against drug abuse advocacy initiative nationwide by creating awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and encouraging those indulging in it to change.
According to Marwa, as a result, a total of 2,725 sensitisation lectures and programmes were held in schools, worship centres, workplaces and communities, among others.
“Just as well, our commands and formations have coped with the increased workload of counselling activities leading to the counselling and rehabilitation of 10,904 drug users”, he stated.
He gave assurance that the agency would not relent in its effort to improve the welfare of the NDLEA workforce.
He, however, warned that the agency would be firm on disciplinary issues.
The NDLEA recognised 104 personnel and 13 commands with outstanding performances in the second half of 2023 at the event.