By Albert Akpor
AS Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the United Nations Day Against Illicit Drug Trafficking and Abuse on Friday June 26, the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade has said that Nigeria is winning the war against illicit trafficking in hard drugs.
The drug czarÂ made the disclosure while receiving a delegation of South African Security Officials at the National Headquarters of the Agency in Ikoyi, Lagos Thursday.Â According to him,Â the country attained its present success level as a result of strong collaboration with other countries, respect for rule of law and professionalism as well as zero tolerance for corruption.
The NDLEA helmsman stressed the importance of collaboration among nations of the world in order to maintain a clear lead ahead of drug cartels. He said, â€œNigeria is winning the drug war today because of her strong collaboration with other countries.
Drug syndicates have their agents across the world; we must therefore work ahead of them by deepening local and foreign relations. Global drug control efforts produce a balloon effect such that drug barons move away from regions with improved and higher drug control mechanism to areas of weaker regulation, but by working together, they will have no hiding place.â€
Nigeria, according to Giade,Â is giving priority attention to harm reduction which is a public health philosophy that seeks to lessen the dangers that drug abuse and drug policies cause to society. He promised to intensify efforts on anti-drug enlightenment programmes to educate people on the dangers of illicit drugs.
The country has a cordial relationship with South Africa in drug control particularly in the area of sniffer dogs and exchange of information. The Agency describes the visit as a positive development in the Nigeria South Africa relationship.
Responding,the leader of the South African delegation, Police Commissioner Roos Andre after a closed door meeting with Ahmadu Giad said that they were in the country to further curtail the incursion of drug cartels into the continent and strengthen the existing relationship between both countries through exchange training programs.Â The Police Commissioner was accompanied by Narcotic Director,Â Taylor Regimen James and Captain Moleshe Luyanda.
Nigeria, like very other countries celebrated the International Day Against Illicit Drug Trafficking and Abuse on Friday June 26, 2009.Â The day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 42/112 of 7th December, 1987 to commemorate the Anti-Drug Day by all countries that are signatories to the resolution. The theme for the commemoration of this yearâ€™s Anti-Drug Day like the previous two years is, Do Drugs Control Your Life? Your Life, Your Community, No Place For Drugs.
This theme was carefully chosen by the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to address three cardinal issues in three years. In 2007, the emphasis was on drug abuse. Last year , it was illicit drug cultivation and this year, it is drug trafficking.
Reiterating its commitment to winning the drug war, the NDLEA said the country was now hotter than ever for drug traffickers.Â Corollary, between January and May 2009, the agency successfully apprehended 2,789 suspected drug traffickers comprising of 2,586 male and 203 females.
A total of 37,668.194 kg of various narcotics and psychotropic substances were also seized from illicit drug traffickers. The breakdown is as follows: cannabis 37,227.65 kg, psychotropic substances 306.191; cocaine 119.235; heroin 15.118 kg. Unlike in the past where type â€˜Aâ€™ drugs were found in few cities,agency was recorded of cocaine seizures in 14 States and the federal capital territory (FCT) Abuja in the first five months of the year.
The states are;Â Akwa Ibom, Abia, Balyelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo and Enugu. Others are Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Ogun and Rivers. Similarly, seizures of monetary exhibits made within the period under review are as follows; Euro 320,595; United States Dollars 78,840, Pounds 2,045; CFA 55,
500; Scottish Pound 40; Liberia Dollar 55 and travelers cheque 113,900 dollars.
Apart from the assets seized, the agency also successfully prosecuted 744 drug offenders. In the area of destruction of cannabis farmland, the agency within the period destroyed 162.161 acres in six states. The states are Edo, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Ondo. Also,Â the agency publicly destroyed forfeited drug exhibits with a total weight of 104,466.213 kg in six states including, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Nasarawa, Borno and Osun.