The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that it arrested no fewer than 59 drug barons out of 31,675 drug offenders, while 5,147 people had been prosecuted and convicted in the past 29 months for drug-related offences.
The chairman and chief executive officer of the NDLEA, Mohamed Buba Marwa, also revealed that over 6.3 million kilogrammes of assorted drugs were seized within the period.
Marwa disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, June 19, at a joint press briefing with the Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Oliver Stolpe, to flag off the week-long activities marking the 2023 World Drug Day.
“In 29 months, we have arrested 31,675 drug offenders, including 35 barons; successfully prosecuted and convicted 5,147 of them, with over 11,000 other cases still pending in court; and counselled and rehabilitated 23,725 drug users, the majority of them through brief interventions.
“At least 6.3 million kilogrammes of various illicit substances had been recovered in response to our efforts to sweep up drugs and shut down the distribution channels. We have destroyed 852,142 hectares of cannabis farms and dismantled three clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. I can assure you that even as we speak, NDLEA agents are busy with interdiction activities somewhere.”
Marwa, who was represented at the event by the agency’s secretary, Shadrach Haruna, added, “Another crucial component is drug demand reduction, which operationally means prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. It should go without saying that we must strike a balance between these two crucial components if we are to achieve our desired utopia of a drug-free society.”
According to him, the enforcement agency had made significant investments in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of drug addicts over the last two years.
“The doors of our rehabilitation facilities are open at all times. In the last 29 months, we have acquired a few more rehab centres, given to us as donations, and we have also obtained the federal government’s approval for the construction of regional model rehabs. More private treatment facilities are also cooperating with NDLEA.
“To cap it all, NDLEA went above and beyond to invest in a toll-free, round-the-clock call centre that provides teletherapy. In summary, we have prioritised treatment, while our WADA advocacy initiative has taken a life of its own with our commands, formations, and partnering civil society organisations taking sensitization lectures and campaigns to schools, communities, worship places, and many more across the country every day.”
He further stated that the NDLEA produced television commercials and radio jingles in different languages on various platforms to sensitise the people and equip them with facts about drugs to enable them to take the right decisions against substance abuse.