By Michael Eboh
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has expressed concern over the abuse of illicit drugs among hunters, farmers and herdsmen across the country.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop in Abuja, Chairman of the NDLEA, Colonel Muhammed Abdallah (retd.), disclosed that the abuse of illicit drugs by these group of individuals is helping in no small measure to fuel the unending crisis between farmers and herders.
Abdallah, who was represented by Victoria Egbase, Assistant Commander General of Narcotics, Director, Assets and Financial Investigation, added that the abuse of the substance, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and environs, was also affecting their productivity negatively.
He said, “The implication of the unfortunate involvement of farmers, hunters and herders in drug abuse is enormous. Some researchers have attributed the persistent clash between farmers and herders to drug abuse.
“For instance, under the influence of drugs herders lose control of their stock which often invades farms to destroy crops. The resultant effect is the bloody feud between the parties. Cattles equally become very aggressive when given certain drugs to make them strong to cover distances and in the process they invade farms.”
Abdallah noted that the NDLEA had decided to focus on improving its our outreach to the clearly identified but often forgotten target groups such as farmers and hunters, especially for the simple fact that this group constitute a larger percentage of the population, coupled with the fact that the food security of the nation rests squarely on the shoulder of farmers.
According to him, the NDLEA need to create a critical mass from the farmers and hunters by increasing their stake in the Drug-Free Nigeria Project.
He said, “We in drug control are concerned about the high rate of drug abuse among farmers, hunters and herdsmen, a development that has often diminished their productivity and has negatively affected their health and life span.
“Study has revealed that ignorance of the grim implications of drug abuse has led farmers and hunters into believing that drugs can energize them to withstand the stress of their work whereas reverse is the case.
“The programme is therefore intended to bring hunters and farmers to speed on the catastrophic consequences of drugs in the language they can understand.”
Also speaking, Chairman of Abaji Area Council, represented by the Council Secretary, Hon. Kamal Suleiman, applauded the NDLEA for doing a good job in the fight against drug abuse.
“Some farmers are aware that Cannabis are being cultivated among them, thinking that they would make more profits. Unfortunately they would make more problems than expected when caught by NDLEA,” he explained.
In his own remark, the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Baba Adamu Yunusa, represented by the Etsu of Yaba, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, enjoined NDLEA to mount special roadblock in Yaba to curb the activities of these drug couriers, adding that currently, drug couriers always go through Yaba in order to avoid Abaji to evade arrest by NDLEA officers”.
He said, “Ninety per cent of drug abuse cases begin from broken homes. Many families have failed to curtail their wards from bad behaviour which often leads to illicit drug consumption.
“As a traditional ruler, I often ask Abaji NDLEA Officer to apprehend drug couriers and peddlers around our area when they are sighted and he has always responded swiftly. Therefore he should be given an award for his excellence.”