Drug abuse: NDLEA says 10.6 m Nigerians use Cannabis, going after illicit drugs production labs
April 19, 2021
Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said the agency is pressing on with its offensive action against illicit drugs production laboratories and farms because of the threat they pose to Nigeria’s national security.
Gen. Marwa stated this in his presentation on the national drug control master plan at a side event at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs conference taking place in Vienna, Austria.
According to him, “Nigeria was traditionally considered a transit country for drug trafficking. Now the problem is much bigger as different categories of drugs are produced, consumed, and trafficked in the country. Drugs trafficked include cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and psychotropic substances including methamphetamine and tramadol.
“Cannabis is cultivated in different parts of the country and there is evidence of methamphetamine producing laboratories. NDLEA has destroyed thousands of hectares of cannabis cultivated land as well as 18 methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories.”
He said a situation where the drug use prevalence in Nigeria is 14.4 % is unacceptable and as such every necessary step must be taken to reverse the trend. “The drug use prevalence in Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years is approximately 15 percent and it is three times the global drug use prevalence of 5.5 per cent.
“Cannabis used by 10.6 million Nigerians is the most common used drug followed by opioids with 4.6 million including tramadol. This is in addition to the fact that 1 in every 4 individuals using drugs is a woman and 1 in 5 who had used drug in the past year is suffering from drug user disorder”, he explained based on a UNODC survey report.
He said NDLEA remains committed as Nigeria’s premier drug control agency with the mandate to “provide effective and efficient services to Nigerians by cutting off the supply of and reducing the demand for illicit drugs and other substances of abuse, tracing and recovering drug-related proceeds, and contributing to the creation and maintenance of an enviable image for the nation within the global community.
Explaining the essence of the National Drug Control Master Plan, NDCMP, the NDLEA boss said it “is comprehensive and balanced as it focuses on drugs not only from law-and-order perspectives but also as a public health and education issue. It provides balanced solutions to issues of drug demand and supply, and ensures access to controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes.”
“In developing the NDCMP 2021 -2025, effort was made to ensure that the document is aligned and harmonized with the existing international and regional conventions. It also benefitted from lessons learned from earlier phases of NDCMP, and good practices from Nigeria, West Africa, and around the world. The NDCMP also contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-3 to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’, to ‘strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”, he added.
German Government Lauds NDLEA For Operational Efficiency
Meanwhile, the German Government has applauded National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for its “professionalism and operational excellence” in preventing and countering drug trafficking. The commendation was handed down by the Vice President of the German Federal Criminal Investigation Office, Michael Kretschmer during a visit to the national headquarters of the Agency.
According to Kreschmer, “We are here to acknowledge your consistent excellent performance over the years. Your indices are professional and reliable. I am here to appreciate your professional work and to ascertain whether our intervention meets your needs and to also find out your general impression of our collaborative efforts”.
The German Police Chief noted that through the NDLEA/German Government Canine Project, the Agency has been able to seize huge quantities of drugs. “But the truth is, it is your work and diligence that have about these operational accomplishments. You have extremely committed canine officers. We have met the dogs donated to you by the German Government in very good shape”, Kreschmer noted.
Marwa noted that the story of NDLEA could not be written without the interventions of the German Government. “The Agency is the leading capability in the use of canine for its operations. The German Government is singularly instrumental to this capability through its generous donations of dogs, vehicles and continuous training of our staff”.
According to the NDLEA Chairman, the NDLEA/German Government Canine Project which started in 2010 has yielded 26 major arrests, leading to the seizure of 17, 932 metric tons of sundry drugs within the country. A total of nine (9) officers have so far been trained on various levels of narcotics detection dog handling proficiency and total of 14 Narcotic detection dogs have so far been donated to the Agency by the German government. This is in addition to the donation of two new Toyota Haice buses and a Mercedes Vito van. “These numerous donations have made such a tremendous impact on the operations of the Agency at the international airports, sea ports and land borders”, the Chairman remarked.
The collaboration between the Agency and the German BKA is to culminate in the establishment of an academy in Nigeria dedicated for the breeding of canine and the building of capacity of canine officers.
The Academy is to meet the canine needs of other crime combating agencies in Nigeria.