THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it would deploy its officers in all 774 local government areas of the country in 2024 to strengthen the war against drug abuse.
The agency said the action was to combat substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking, especially in local communities.
According to the NDLEA’s Director of Media and advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the agency’s chairman, Mohammed Marwa, stated this while responding to a request by the Kastina State Governor Dikko Radda for the deployment of more NDLEA officers to the state.
Rada requested for more NDLEA personnel to tame the problem of drug abuse and insecurity in his state.
Marwa said with the agency’s staff strength expected to rise to 15,000 by the end of this year, the subsequent development would be to deploy them to the 774 LGAs.
“We would need more support to succeed. I appreciate the work of the Katsina governor as the challenges are numerous in governing the state. But if insecurity is a problem and is fueled by drugs, I believe we have to collectively take it out of the security equation,” Marwa stated.
He added, “The drug menace is a huge issue and has destroyed the lives of our youths and communities. It is the public enemy number one, and especially the criminal aspect of it. 99 per cent of the criminals must first have access to drugs and be under the influence to perpetrate some of their acts.”
He noted that NDLEA seized over 6,668 tons of illicit substances in two years and assured that he would continue to clean the nation of drugs.
He said the other lap of the fight was drug demand reduction, which focuses on the prevention, treatment and aftercare of drug-dependent persons.
Speaking earlier, Radda said he was at the agency as part of his government’s efforts to solve the problem of insecurity facing his state.
“It is no longer news that the problem of insecurity has been ongoing for years, and insecurity is one of the major issues confronting Katsina state.
“We decided to reach out to the NDLEA under the leadership of the chairman/chief executive to combine our efforts and synergise to mitigate the effect of insecurity in the state. We must get to the root of the problem, and the root of the problem is drug abuse by the teeming youths in the state,” the governor stated.
The ICIR reported that NDLEA arrested 8,561 drug traffickers between January and August 2023.
The anti-drug trafficking agency also seized 888,743 drugs and secured 2,224 convictions.
These figures were contained in data exclusively obtained by The ICIR from the agency’s spokesperson.
According to the data, 1,985 males and 239 females were convicted.