The Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retired), has decried the high rate of illicit drug trafficking in the Lagos State, saying the state accounts for 30 per cent of the total drug abusers in Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday, during his visit to the agency’s commands for an on-the-spot assessment of its facilities, he ordered the agency to eliminate the drug cartels in the state.
The NDLEA boss is on a three-day familiarisation and assessment visit to the various commands of the agency in Lagos state including other establishments that are strategically important to the operations of the agency.
Marwa maintained that an estimate of about 15 million people belonged to one or more aspects of illicit drug dealing, which indicates that about 4.5 million people in Lagos were into illicit drugs.
He said some of the factors responsible for the high level of illicit drug dealings in the state, were the huge population, the presence of two seaports and airports, and a huge number of unregistered medicine sellers.
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According to the NDLEA chairman, there are about 1.58 million patent medicine stores in the country.
“Out of the figure, only 58,000 patent medicine outlets are registered while about 1 million others remain unregistered. This has really enhanced sales of illicit drugs in the state.”
However, he commended the agency’s commandant in the state, Ralph Igwenagu, on his efforts at ridding the state of illicit drug trafficking and abuse, and reassured officers of his commitment to improving the conditions of service for enhanced effective service delivery.
“It is only through the combined efforts of all the officers that the agency can win the fight against drugs. I know this command needs a befitting edifice. This will be worked on as soon as possible,” he said.
Igwenagu said the command arrested about 471 drug offenders at different locations in the state in 2020, which involved 424 males and 47 females, even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,
“This year, the command seized 11,798 kilogrammes (over 11 tons) of various illicit hard drugs and 722.31 litres of same illicit drugs (liquid) from dealers and joints in the state,” Igwenagu said.
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