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NDLEA makes 52,901 arrests, secures 9,000 convictions in 3 years, destroys 1,057 hectares of cannabis farms

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) said Wednesday that the agency’s drug test kits are necessities for every home, schools and offices in the country.

Marwa said this on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, otherwise known as World Drug Day, held at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.

He said the ‘Save Our Families’ social advocacy campaign launched by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was designed to prevent and tackle drug use through early detection and intervention by making the agency’s newly produced special drug test kits a necessity in every home, schools and workplaces.

“The Agency has introduced the Drug Integrity Test initiative anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug culture for every Nigerian. The test is intended for secondary school students, students seeking admission into tertiary institutions and returning students, workers in government and private offices and individuals seeking political offices as well as prospective couples before taking their marriage vows.

“The drug test will serve as a tool for the prevention of drug use and early detection of the individual’s status of drug use for the purpose of appropriate intervention including treatment and rehabilitation,” said.

Speaking on the theme for this year’s World Drug Day, Marwa said drug use prevention lies at the heart of NDLEA’s strategy in addressing the drug problem because it is far more effective and cost-efficient to prevent drug abuse than to deal with its consequences.

“I am proud to state that the programme has been a tremendous success as an effective tool of advocacy for social action and an awareness driven vehicle for public engagement and collaboration against the drug scourge. For instance, between 2021 and 2024, the Agency embarked on 6,423 sensitization and education programmes targeting young people in school and 987 programmes for Out of School youths in order to create awareness on the dangers associated with drug use,” he explained.

He said the NDLEA is not relenting in its effort to cut off illicit drug supply channels and dismantle trafficking networks.

According to him,  “The magnitude of our effort is reflected in the statistics of our drug supply reduction activities. We have arrested 52,901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, in three and a half years. Over 9,000 of the suspects have been convicted in court. We have also seized over the same period 7.6 million kilograms of assorted illicit substances.”

Also speaking, the outgoing UNODC Country Representative, Dr Oliver Stolpe, made a number of recommendations.

He said, “After the exceptionally successful testing of the school-based drug prevention programme UNPLUGGED involving half a million secondary school children in Nigeria, the programme should be rolled out to all 28,000 public and private secondary schools. We need to enhance the resilience against drug use among the millions of out-of-school children, for example through sports-based initiatives such as LINE UP LIVE UP (LULU).

“Furthermore, we need to strengthen families in their ability to recognise and address drug use in effective and constructive ways.”

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The chairman House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hon. Abass Adigun, called for more budgetary provisions for NDLEA in the face of its multifaceted mandate.

“We at the national assembly are ready to work with the NDLEA and we need the federal government to look into this,” he said.

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