By Chimezie Godfrey
The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa has revealed that the agency seized drugs and cash worth over N130bn in the past one year of his administration.
Marwa who made the startling revelation at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, said in addition to the recoveries the agency made notable achievements in its fight against drug abuse and other related crimes across the country.
Newsdiaryonline reports that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Marwa as the NDLEA Chairman on Jan. 17, 2021 and assumed duty on Jan. 18, 2021.
Marwa had served as Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) between 2018 and December 2020 along with others, to develop a blueprint on how to end drug abuse in country.
Reeling out the account of his stewardship since he came to pilot the affairs of the agency, he mentioned that there has been drastic reduction in drug supply in the past one year.
According to him, the agency arrested over 12,306 suspected drug traffickers including 7 drug barons, 1,400 offenders convicted, 5,200 court cases still pending in court, and seized 3.4million Kilograms of assorted drug, among others.
He said,”We can take solace in the fact that our achievements of 2021 surpassed the records of any given year in the last three decades.
“In drug supply reduction, our interdiction efforts yielded unparalleled results, which as of Dec. 31, 2021, we also seized over 3.4million kilogrammes of assorted drugs.
“We destroyed 406 hectares of cannabis farms and contributed to the consolidated account through asset forfeiture with 7, 761 drug users counselled and rehabilitated in NDLEA facilities.”
Marwa stressed that some of the notable seizures recorded by the agency since January 2021 include the seizure of 230 tons of cannabis in Edo in February.
He added that recent seizure of over 100 tons of psychotropic substance across the country in the past two weeks was not excluded.
“Some of the striking seizures include 451,807 captagon tablets, weighing 71.119kg in September 2021 at Apapa Seaport, Lagos.
“This was the first-ever recorded seizure of the drug in the West and Central African regions.
“1,994, 400 capsules of Tramadol were seized in February 2021 at the Apapa Port, while another 144, 400 bottles of Codeine syrup were confiscated in March and another seizure of 32.9kg of cocaine was recorded in October, 2021,” he said.
Marwa equally disclosed that 43.11kg of cocaine was seized in February 2021 at the Tin Can Seaport and another 22, 590kg of Codeine syrup was seized by the NDLEA at the Port in September, 2021.
According to him, 4, 996, 200 capsules of Tramadol, weighing 2 ,498kg, were impounded in May 2021 at the Onne Port and another 100,000 (100ml) bottles of Codeine cough syrups weighing 15, 325 kg in 500 cartons were intercepted at the port in June 2021.
The NDLEA Boss also mentioned that 2, 000.6kg of Cannabis Sativa were impounded by the agency in concrete mixer truck loaded in Ogbese, Ondo State.
“The consignment was intercepted along Girei –Yola Road in Adamawa on Dec. 2, 2021.
“In December 2021 alone, over 34,000kg of cannabis smuggled from Ghana, were intercepted at the Eko Atlantic City Beach, while more than 8.3 million capsules and tablets of Tramadol were seized in Lagos a week before Christmas.
“Just last week, about 1.5 million capsules of same drug, loaded in Onitsha, Anambra, heading to Kebbi and Kano States were also intercepted by our men in Edo,” he stated.
He pointed out that the agency also recorded a series of interceptions and seizures of cocaine and heroin at various airports in the country within the stipulated period.
Marwa revealed that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) is the epicentre of the spectacular seizures, including what stands today as the biggest single seizure from an individual in 15 years.
According to him, this was the 26.840 kg of cocaine smuggled from Brazil in January, 24.05 kg of Heroin in April, 27.95 kg of Cocaine in May, and 26.15kg of Heroin also in May all in 2021.
He reiterated the agency’s commitment to its mandate of ensuring a drug-free Nigeria, adding that the NDLEA would continue to play its role toward the achievement of that goal.
Marwa further hinted that the agency is working towards achieving a stiffer penalty for offenders, which he said will remove the option of fine for offenders.