The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade has announced the arrest of 494 suspected female traffickers in 2014. The highest numbers of females were arrested in Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Anambra and Rivers State commands. The NDLEA boss who was reacting to the involvement of females in drug trafficking as the world marked International Women’s Day said that the Agency will soon launch a nationwide campaign tagged ‘Save the Girl Child from Drug Trafficking and Abuse’.
According to Giade, “the NDLEA is paying special attention to females because of the important role they play in the family and the society at large. The reduction in the number of females arrested in 2014 is encouraging and we hope to improve on this with a good number of drug abuse preventive programmes in the year”.
The NDLEA boss added that the impressive and laudable achievements of the Agency were made despite numerous challenges. “Narcotic investigations are cumbersome, protracted and capital intensive. If drug syndicates have global networks, we must be steps ahead of them. The Agency must embark on a nationwide anti-drug enlightenment campaign to highlight the consequences of illicit drugs especially the plight of some of our citizens who are awaiting execution abroad for drug trafficking”.
The NDLEA arrested 8,826 suspected drug traffickers comprising 8,332 males and 494 females in 2014. Illicit drugs seized stood at 166,697.18kg. A breakdown of the drugs is as follows, cannabis sativa is highest with 158,852.2kg. Cocaine is 226.041kg and heroin 56.449kg. Others are methamphetamine 119.2kg, amphetamine 0.05grammes, ephedrine 35.8kg and psychotropic substances 7,407.44kg.
However, in 2013 the Agency arrested 8,843 drug suspects comprising 8,324 males and 519 females. Total drug seized in 2013 was 339,968.11kg. The drugs include cannabis 205,373kg, psychotropic substances 134,280.38kg, cocaine 290.2kg and heroin 24.53kg. Cannabis farm land destroyed was 847.46 hectares containing 10,051,553.568kg.
Suspected female drug traffickers apprehended in 2014 reduced by 25 as against the number arrested in 2013. Edo State had the highest female arrest with 56, Akwa Ibom 48, Delta 47, Anambra 41 and Rivers 32. In 2014, the Agency recorded unprecedented cannabis farm destruction with a total of 4,529.15 hectares of farmland representing 53,719,342.32 kilogrammes of cannabis plants.
The statistics indicate a reduction in both arrests and seizures in the NDLEA operations in 2014 as compared to 2013. Arrests reduced by 17 persons while drugs reduced by 173,270.93kg. According to Giade, “the reduction is a reflection of the new strategic approach to drug control adopted by the NDLEA. Our proactive measures led to the destruction of 53.7 million kilogrammes of cannabis in the farms. This represents an increase of 43.6 million kilogrammes over the 10 million kilogrammes destroyed at cannabis plantations in 2013”.
On the 2014 data table, the Sensitive Investigation Unit (SIU) made the highest seizure of 28,063kg. This was followed by Delta State command that seized 24,052.05kg. Edo State command occupied the third position with 21,179kg. Ondo and Oyo States had 18,908kg and 10,253kg respectively. In the area of arrests, Katsina State led other commands with 609 suspected traffickers while Kano followed with 503. Bauchi had 471, Lagos 434 and FCT 425.
Within the year under review, 2,070 cases were charged to court. The NDLEA successfully convicted 2,054 drug offenders. Seven (7) cases were discharged and acquitted while nine (9) cases were struck out. Kano State had the highest conviction with 182 followed by Kaduna with 151 and Lagos 125. FCT and Kaduna occupied the fourth and fifth position with 115 and 104 respectively. In addition, the Agency successfully counseled 3,392 persons with drug abuse problems. Twelve (12) cases were referred to other drug treatment centers, while 131 counseling cases were on-going as at 31st December 2014.