Marwa flags off construction of NDLEA Area Command office in Benue 

By Emmanuel Antswen

The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa, has flagged off the construction of Igumale Area Command Office of the agency in Ado Local Government Area of Benue State.

Performing the ceremony on Monday in Igumale, Marwa said the agency’s 2018 report showed that over 15 million Nigerians indulge in the consumption of illicit drugs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NDLEA Area Command Office and the rehabilitation of 20-kilometer Igumale-Ulayi-Ijigban Road was facilitated by Dr Francis Agbo, member representing the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.

The Chairman further decried the surge in the distribution and consumption of illicit substances, adding that they have seized over 5,700 tons of cannabis and destroyed over 800 hectares of cannabis plantations in the last two years.

“We have recorded over 15 million users as of 2018 and we have the President’s mandate to bring the surge to an end and that is our task.

“When you don’t have drugs you don’t use it that is the first aspect, the second aspect it to face those who deal in it, bring them to justice and forfeit their assets to serve as a deterrent to others.

“We are seizing and destroying the cannabis plantations because 70 per cent of drug users use cannabis. We have so far destroyed 800 hectares of cannabis plantations and over 5,700 tons of it has been confiscated in the last two years,”he said.

He said the agency is also trying to cut off links between the sellers and the buyers which regrettably millions of consumers are already deep into it and are constantly struggling to get it.

He said the agency has in the last two years rehabilitated over 19,000 drug abusers and said the war against drugs and narcotics is on course.

“We are taking every step to clear drugs on our streets, homes, work places, forests, markets etc. It is an ongoing process and we are calling on all stakeholders to join the war against drugs and narcotics activities in the country.

“We are here on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the new Area Command Office of NDLEA, Igumale, Ado LGA, every community has its black spot, so I want to warn all those involved in all kinds of illicit drugs and narcotics activities here to desist immediately or face the law.”

Marwa, while also commissioning the 20-kilometre Igumale-Ulayi-Ijigban Road, said President Buhari has carried out numerous infrastructural projects in the last eight years across the country.

He commanded Dr Agbo for his support to the agency while at the National Assembly and for also remembering his people while in office.

In his remarks, Dr Francis Agbo, member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said he strongly believes that the war against drugs and narcotics will succeed.

“It is my strong belief that with NDELA Area Command Office here in Igumale, we are going to succeed to a large extend in the war against illicit drugs and narcotics. Today, our people know more than ever before that it is a crime to involve in drugs.

“I’m one of the happiest member of NASS. I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Marwa to head the agency and for also ensuring that there is 100 per cent release of funds for all their projects. So I urge you to give this project serious administrative support,” he said.

Dr Agbo said that while growing up, he trekked about 14 kilometres from Ijigban to Methodist High School Igumale for his primary education every day and has since then promised to rehabilitate the road if opportunity comes his way.

He said his people have overtime suffered so much due to lack of access road, adding that they are now connected to the rest of Benue people and Ebonyi State following the construction of the road.

Speaking to newsmen, Mr. Emmanuel Oche, Secretary, Ulayi Elders Forum, said the people of Ijigban and Ulayi would now be connected to the rest of the people of the State and Ebonyi State following the construction of the Igumale-Ulayi-Ijigban rural Road.

Oche said that before now, they spend three to four hours coming from Ijigban to Igumale, the headquarters of Ado Local Government, but with the construction of the road, they now spend 30 minutes plying the road to Igumale.

He said with the new road, the World will now have access to their agricultural produce anytime of the year.

Also speaking to newsmen, Mr Innocent Itodo, Managing Director, Jegi Paramount Multilinks Limited, the contractor that handled the rehabilitation of the road, said they have met all contract specification.

Itodo further disclosed that his company is also handling the construction of the National Drug Enforcement Law Agency (NDELA) Area office in Ado, adding that the project would take only six months before completion. (NAN)