The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lagos Command, says it arrested 471 drug offenders in 2020 despite the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Commander, Mr Ralph Igwenagu, (Narcotic Commander) disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
Igwenagu said the arrest comprised 424 males and 47 females.
The NDLEA boss said the offenders were arrested at various locations in Lagos.
According to him, the ages of the offenders range from 14 to 58 years.
“Out of this numbers, 257 associated with the offences directly or were accomplices to the crime were charged to court.
“A total of 214 people, who are drug users, were counselled and released,’’ Igwenagu said.
In the year under review, the command seized 11,798 kilogrammes (over 11 tons) of various illicit hard drugs and 722.31 litres of same illicit drugs (liquid) from dealers and joints in the state.
“These comprised of cannabis sativa (hemp) 11,598.549 kg, Cocaine 0.848 kg, Heroine 0.101 kg, Tramadol 167.869 kg, Diazepam 7.645 kg, Exol-5 2.05 kg, Methamphetamine 0.072 kg and Rohypnol 21.707 kg.
“The liquid seizures are Codeine base Cough Syrup, Diazepam injections and Tramadol injections that makes 722.31 litres.’’
On prosecutions, the commander said the agency had successfully secured the convictions of 72 defendants at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“This comprised 71 males and a female with various degrees of jail terms,’’ he said.
Also in 2020, he said that the counselling unit of the command counselled 214 drug users who had been reunited with their families.
“In the same vein, the unit successfully rehabilitated six drug-dependent persons brought in by their parents,’’ he said.
Igwenagu told NAN that said the command also embarked on advocacy visits to various stakeholders such as traditional institutions, relevant Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), media houses and Religious organisations.
He said that the purpose of the visit was to sensitise the stakeholders and the public on the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking.
He pointed out that the command had noticed the alarming rate women are getting involved in drug activities in the state.
“This portends a great danger to the healthy upbringing of our youths.
He expressed appreciation to the people and government of Lagos State as well as sister security agencies for continuous support to the command.
“The command, however, still seeks continuous assistance from all Lagosians by providing credible information on illicit drug activities in their neighbourhoods.
“Together we will reduce the menace of illicit drug abuse and trafficking in Lagos to the barest minimum,’’ he said. (NAN)