By Godfrey Bivbere
AS drug trafficking by sea increases globally, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has stressed the need for the Federal Government to strengthen the Agency to effectively combat the illicit drug trade.
This is even as the Agency indicated that there has been a rise in the volume of drug trafficking in the West African sub-region.
The NDLEA made the call in Lagos during the commemoration of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking on Monday.
Director, Seaports Operation of NDLEA, Omolaja Faboyede, noted that drug trafficking through the sea has been a security problem for all countries of the West African region because it involves the movement of large quantity of drugs.
According to him: “It increases the level of insecurity and drug related crimes. Nigeria must have the political will to tackle the issue of drug trafficking, the supervising agency; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency must be strengthen and adequately funded to combat drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.
“Criminality in the Gulf of Guinea includes maritime piracy, armed robbery, trans-organised crime such as illegal fishing and associated crime such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, illegal dumping of toxic waste and other sea based crimes.
“Since mid-2000 West Africa has emerged a transit point for trafficking of cocaine from South America to Europe. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that $1.25 billion worth of cocaine passed through the region in 2010 alone.
“Recent drug trafficking has witnessed a massive movement of Cannabis Sativa from Ghana to Nigerian waters at an alarming rate.”
He also noted that trafficking of narcotic drugs by sea has virtually become an industry comprising many individual enterprises of varying sizes, adding that it is an attraction to major international criminal organisations and terrorist.
He pointed out that there are 200 million illicit drug users worldwide adding that the number has continued to grow every day.
Faboyede also said that around 190,000 people die of use of illicit drugs every year, stressing further that drug trafficking is a threat to human live, national development and security.