Posted by Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia | 27 October 2019 | 660 times
The Abia State Command of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has paraded 15 suspected dealers and consumers of illicit drugs arrested by its operatives in the state.
Mr. Akingbade Bamidele, the State Commander of NDLEA in a Press Conference said that the 15 suspects who were all male were arrested in Aba, the economic nerve center and Umuahia, the state capital during a raid on drug joints in the two major cities.
The NDLEA boss added that in adherence to the governor’s directives to the agency to ensure operation zero black spots in Umuahia and its environs, the agency in collaboration with the officers of Nigerian army at the weekend conducted a raiding operation in Abia community; Olokoro, Umuahia South LGA where dried leaves suspected to be cannabis of about 50kg were seized and two persons arrested as well.
“We also carried comprehensive raid operation in Umuahia between Thursday and Friday last week with the Nigerian army where we seized 75kg of Cannabis, Tramadol and some packets of Rohypnol.”
According to the Abia State NDLEA boss, the exercise is going to be a continuous one as the agency aims at ensuring that the activities of dealers and sellers of various hard drugs were nipped in the bud.
Bamidele who was pained that under aged children in the state are already into selling and consumption of illicit drugs disclosed that he is collaborating with some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) including Vica Hope Foundation; An NGO of wife of the Abia State Governor, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu to fight the scourge.
The NDLEA boss who disclosed that the agency is already pushing for the inclusion of Drug Education into the state curriculum, also hinted that efforts were on ground to collaborate with traditional rulers across the 17 LGAs of the state for the establishment of Drug Free Clubs in their communities as measures to take the campaign against illicit drugs to the rural areas.
“Between January and September, we have 325 suspects. We have seized 720kg of illicit drug substances. Because of the high rate of the abuse of psychotropic substances, we are now beaming our light on Ariaria Market and other patent medicine dealers in the state.
“What we are targeting are mainly Tramadol, Benylin, Rohypnol and Diazepam because we have lately discovered that the youths are shifting away from the traditional illicit drugs like Cannabis, Cocaine and Heroin to psychotropic substances because that they (psychotropic substances) are easy to keep; they don’t have odour and it still gives them the same feeling that they get when they take on Cannabis and others.
“So, what we have done between January and now is that we have been able to seize close to 750, 000 tablets of Tramadol and Rohypnol.
“You recall that in the month of February, we recovered a Diazepam compounding laboratory in Aba and we have been able to closedown that clandestine laboratory. In the process 414kg some tablets suspected to be Diazepam and some tablets that have been compounded were also seized.
“In addition to this, we are increasing our collaboration with other sister security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army that have been very supportive to our operations and the DSS that have been giving us useful intelligence with which we have been acting upon in our counter narcotic activities in the state.
“We have been carrying out raiding operations in the state with the Nigerian Army which have been largely successful.
“Also within the period, we have arrested two suspects, but we later discovered that they are hardened criminals that have been on the Police wanted list for robbery and kidnapping.
“One was arrested in Aba and the other one in Arochukwu by our officers. We have handed over to the police for continued investigation into their matter.
“Out of the 75 cases filed in court, 41 cases have been concluded and sentenced. We have gotten approval from the Federal High Court to destroy about 7 tons of illicit exhibits that were seized.
Thankfully, the state government has supported with logistics to be able to carry out this destruction.
We are however, expecting our headquarters to take a date for this unique exercise to take place. This is the first time since the inception of the command in 2003 that we are going to carry out such exercise.
“Last week, we commenced operation zero black spot in Umuahia with the assistance of the state government and directives from the state governor that there should be no standing black spot in Umuahia.
“In adherence to the governor’s directives, we conducted a raiding operation in Olokoro, Umuahia South LGA with the army.
“During the raid, we seized dry leaves suspected to be cannabis of about 50kg and arrested two persons.
We also carried comprehensive raid operation in Umuahia between Thursday and Friday last week with the Nigerian army where we seized 75kg of Cannabis, Tramadol and some packets of Rohypnol.”
Speaking on Drug Supply reduction, Akingbade said “In Umuahia also, two hotels were raided. Eight suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure. This is going to be an ongoing exercise until our desired results in cutting the chain between the drug suppliers and those that are using the drugs is achieved.
“In the area of drug demand reduction, the NDLEA Commander thanked Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for the support that the government has given the agency to enable it carry out its operations in the state.
“He hopes that the support will continue in order to help them fight sale and consumption of illicit drugs.
“We have come to realise that by own analysis that as long as there are demands for any illegal substance, there will always be supply even in countries where such attracts death penalty.
“But what we are trying to do is to emphasise more on Drug Demand Reduction so that we can reduce the number of the people demanding for these drugs so that the price of these commodities can come down and it will not be worthwhile for them to be in that business any more. We are working with four NGOs including the foundation of the Wife of Abia State Governor Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu, Vicar Hope Foundation.” (The Nation)
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