The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah has disclosed that an illicit drug known as Khat is gradually finding its way into the country.
The revelation was made known in an official statement signed by Head, Public Affairs of NDLEA, Ofoyeju Mitchell which was made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
While promising to tackle drug trafficking syndicates over the introduction of a new drug into the country, Abdallah said “drug trafficking cartels are gradually introducing a new stimulant drug into the country but we are prepared to stop them. In the first half of the year 2016, the Agency successfully seized 65.7kg of Khat. We are taking counter narcotic measures calculated at frustrating the activities of drug trafficking organisations. Officers at all border points, airports and seaports are being sensitised on new trends. In addition, operatives at the Special Investigation Assignment Unit are also working very hard to prevent the use of courier companies in smuggling Khat and other narcotics into the country”.
Abdallah while calling on members of the public to be aware of the development said that the Agency is prepared to stop all illegal importation, production and exportation of illicit drugs. The Agency made a seizure of 65.7kg of Khat between January and June 2016.
Khat is a stimulant flowering shrub growing mainly in the native of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant which is known as Catha edulis contains two alkaloids, namely cathinone and cathine that act as stimulants. When Khat leave is chewed like tobacco, it produces a mild euphoria similar to cocaine and amphetamine.
The NDLEA boss urged stakeholders to unite against drug trafficking cartels and work towards a crime free society. “The support of stakeholders is crucial to the success of the drug war. Drug criminals are only concerned about their monetary gains, we must therefore unite against them” he stated.
The Agency arrested four thousand, eight hundred and thirty-eight (4,838) suspected drug traffickers comprising 4,490 males and 348 females within the first half of the year. Drugs weighing 108, 883.52kgs were also seized between January and June. These drugs include cannabis 74,942.47kg, psychotropic substances 33,425.38kg, ephedrine 201.12kg, methamphetamine 179.74kg, cocaine 54.05kg, heroin 15.11kg and amphetamine 0.0138 grammes.
ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos