Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna has led other stakeholders to publicly burn forfeited drug exhibits weighing 12,366kgs with an estimated street value of N133 million. Mr Mitchel Ofoyeju, the spokesman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), made the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
The statement said that the destruction took place on Tuesday in Kufena, Zaria, Kaduna State. The statement quoted El-Rufai as saying at the event that the security of lives and property were the cardinal focus of his government. “Over 100 patrol vehicles will soon be distributed to security agencies in the state to carry out their duties,’’ it said.
According to the statement, the governor commended the agency for the gains recorded by Nigeria in the fight against drugs. It said the governor promised to spearhead anti-drug advocacy, adding that El-Rufai attended the event with the members of his executive council and heads of security agencies.
The statement also quoted the Chairman of NDLEA, Mr Ahmadu Giade as saying that the destruction was symbolic and in line with the agency’s Act. “The NDLEA Act mandates us under section 3 sub-section 1 (i) to take measures for the early destruction or disposal of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which have been seized, confiscated or forfeited.
“Public destruction of drugs is therefore a continuous exercise in our quest to have a drug-free and secured society and the world at large,’’ the statement said. It said that Giade, who was represented by the Director of Prosecution and Legal Services of the agency, Mr Sunday Joseph, gave the breakdown of the drugs.
“We have the permission of the court to publicly destroy a total of 12,366kgs of narcotic drugs. “The breakdown of the drugs is as follows: Cannabis Sativa also known as Indian hemp constitutes the bulk of the drugs with 12,351.938kgs. “Psychotropic substances are 13.443kgs, Cocaine 63g and Heroin 57g,’’ the statement quoted him as saying.
It said that the NDLEA boss noted that 27 million people were suffering from drug use disorders or drug dependence according to World Drug Report 2015. “The report adds that a total of 246 million people or 1 out of 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64 years used an illicit drug in 2013
“Nigeria used to be a transit point because of the activities of drug cartels that import drugs from drug producing countries to Nigeria before smuggling same to Europe, Asia and America. “However, the situation is changing as Nigeria is gradually becoming a producer country.
“Apart from the cultivation of cannabis, the agency has discovered 10 clandestine laboratories used for the production of methamphetamine in the past five years,’’ it said. It noted that while calling for more support from the public, Giade promised to intensify investigation of suspected drug dealers to bring them to book and ensure the forfeiture of their ill-gotten wealth.
“Many students have dropped out of school on account of drugs, while others are in prison custody for trafficking narcotics. “Drug addiction has confined many addicts to treatment centres and psychiatric hospitals over mentally induced ailments, while some have died prematurely.
“The sad stories of children who murdered their parents, siblings and neighbours under the influence of drugs are timely warnings,’’ the statement said. It said the NDLEA commander in Kaduna State, Mr Samuel Asinge, noted that the command was recording success in the campaign against substance abuse.
“The command has drastically reduced cases of substance abuse particularly abuse of cannabis and cough syrup with codeine which used to be prevalent in the state. “We shall continue to work very hard in reducing drug trafficking and abuse to the barest minimum,’’ it quoted Asinge as saying.