The chairman/chief executive of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd), has said that about 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis.
The chairman, who stated this at a press briefing to unveil a week-long programme of activities in commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Abuja, said the NDLEA will continue to burn any cannabis farm in Nigeria and arrest all those involved.
Speaking on the regulations of cannabis, the NDLEA boss said the negative effects of drugs are too many and Nigerians cannot afford to risk to have laws backing Cannabis for now.
The chairman also said, “the agency’s offensive action against drug cartels across the country launched some five months ago, has yielded over 2,180 arrests of drug traffickers and the seizure of over 2 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs. We have filed at least 2,100 drug cases in court, recording over 500 convictions with 1,549 cases pending in court.
“These results have given us big insights into the magnitude of the drug problem.”
Speaking on the theme for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives, the chairman said: “it is very significant considering the unquantifiable and enormous danger posed by substance abuse. Abuse of narcotics has incapacitated the workforce of organisations and ruined communities and societies. It has brought about family disintegration, decimated the capacities of our youths and given rise to all types of crimes such as insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, rape and violent extremism which have befallen nations including our dear country Nigeria with attendant health consequences on the users.
“The dynamism of the drug problem has made it imperative for us to continue to deepen our knowledge and understanding of this deleterious conundrum. In this regard, sharing facts about drug abuse and illicit trafficking in narcotics, as captured by this year’s theme, will go a long way in shedding some light on hitherto hidden factors that aid predisposition to substance abuse, especially the question of new psychoactive substances.
“Drug abuse as an enabler of all forms of criminality is a hydra-headed monster that must be crushed if we must move forward as a nation. The solution lies in having hyper-efficient anti-drug machinery, which is what the NDLEA stands for.”
Speaking on the activities of the NDLEA, Marwa said, “we have succeeded in boosting the morale and confidence of officers and men of the NDLEA through practical steps taken to address welfare and career stagnation issues. To this end, we instituted, among other measures, a bi-monthly assessment and cash-backed award for Best Performing Commands to motivate officers and men on the field. Recently, the agency promoted 3, 506 officers who have stagnated in the past years, some for upward of 10, 15 and even 20 years on one rank. One person actually stayed 21 years on one rank.”
While speaking, Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Oliver Stolpe, said use of drugs is three times higher in Nigeria when compared to global average.
He also said cannabis, heroine, cocaine, tramadol and codeine are the drugs prevalent in Nigeria and ages between 25 to 39 are involved in the drugs more.