By Our Correspondent
A renewed vigour by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to end illicit drug use across the country has put many of the drug lords across the states on the run.
Data obtained by our correspondents showed that the agency arrested over 1,496 persons in just eight states in the last six months.
The states are Rivers, Delta, Cross Rivers, Imo, Abia, Sokoto, Yobe and Jigawa.
The various commands of the NDLEA told our correspondents that they had deployed new tactics in gathering intelligence on drug traffickers which has leg to increase in the number of arrests and putting others on the run.
The NDLEA in Imo State said it arrested 165 suspects comprising 145 males and 20 females for various drug law violations from January 2020 to date.
The state commander of the agency, Nse Inam who made the disclosure while interacting with LEADERSHIP Sunday at the command headquarters in Owerri. The command revealed that youths within the age bracket of 17 to 35 years formed the majority of the suspects.
In Rivers State, the agency arrested 150 drug offenders in the past six months. The command’s public relations officer, Emmanuel Ogbumgbada, disclosed in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt that out of the 150, 130 were males while 20 were females.
The statement said the command seized one 136.04 kilograms of hard drugs and banned substances within the period under review.
It also said the command secured the conviction of 19 drug offenders while 24 drug dependent persons were rehabilitated and reunited with their families.
The chairman/chief executive officer of the NDLEA, General Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) also disclosed that as part of its new strategy, the agency was collaborating with the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to bring drug barons to their knees.
Speaking when the chief executive officer of NFIU, Mallam Modibbo Hamman Tukur, visited the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja, Marwa said, “It is the lives of our children and the children of future generations that are at stake. We must do all that is necessary to protect them. We at NDLEA have vowed to bring the drug criminals down.”
He vowed to put efforts into the NDLEA’s primary mandate of cutting down drugs through cooperation with NFIU.
“In this business there will be no competition but cooperation, we will ensure that we work together,” he said.
In his response, Tukur assured Marwa of full cooperation from the NFIU, noting that since Marwa’s assumption of office, significant successes had been recorded in the anti-narcotic war in the country.
“We have seen the sign of success since your assumption of office. There are clear signs that the drug war will be fought to its logical conclusion under your leadership.
“Our work is to do data analysis 24 hours on national security and deploy the data to all relevant agencies.
“Our application picks all the personal and bank details of every target which are veritable operational intelligence in relation to drug traffics, terrorism financing and arms trafficking. We have all that NDLEA needs, all we need is synergy between the two agencies,” Tukur said.
In the past few weeks, the NDLEA has made series of arrests of and seizures of illicit drugs from traffickers coming in and going out of the country through the Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja respectively.
In one of the arrests and seizures cocaine worth N32 billion was confiscated. They busted illicit drugs warehouses in Edo State and seized cannabis worth N1.4 billion.
There were other seizures of illicit drugs worth millions of dollars.