- Arrested 174 suspects, Seized 10,978kg of Hard Drugs, Secured 15 convictions in 2020
The State Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Kogi State Command, Mr. Alfred Bayode Adewumi has reiterated the commitment of the agency to sustain its war against drug dealers in the state.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lokoja on Monday, Adewumi warned drug merchants in the state to desist from nefarious activities as the agency has been further energized with the appointment of Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa as the Chief Executive of NDLEA.
He said Marwa’s appointment has “engendered hope, provoked new altitude of impetus and driven the adrenalin level for performance of officers and men of the Agency to a new high.”
He described drug dealers as callous merchants of death who are profiteering from the decimation of society, ruination of families and the truncating of potentials.
Adewumi stated that though the agency was slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic, #EndSARS protests, ASSU strike, flood incidences and other events, NDLEA seized 10,978.399kg of illicit drugs in Kogi states between January and December 2020.
He explained the agency’s intelligence gathering activities, follow-up raid operations and interceptions made in the course of patrols, led to the seizure of illicit drugs.
Cannabis Sativa constituted the bulk of illicit drugs seized bay NDLEA last year. Cannabis seized weighed 10,072.916kg; Cocaine, 0.553kg; Diazepam, 24.875kg; Rohypnol, 19.157kg; Tramadol, 3.758kg; Exol-5, 167.16kg; Cough Syrup with Codeine, 689.9kg and Swinol, 0.040kg.
“I want to state very clearly that the presence of NDLEA in Kogi State, in spite of the many structural and organisational transformations it has undergone, and many handicaps that it is contending with, has proven without doubt to be justified. The command has stoically and very effectively manned the gateway between the southern and northern parts of Nigeria and foiled the many attempts by unscrupulous drug dealers to flood the streets of the nation with drugs and turn her citizens into addicts, junkies and dregs.
“The concerted effort of officers and men of this command led to dispelling the wrongly held impression that Kogi State is a drug transit point. This has become a mere myth which may have been sustained for so long because of the state’s strategic location as the point of connection between the North and South of Nigeria, and her sharing borders with ten states and the FCT,- some of which are noted for being major drug cultivation/producing centres.
“However, the cumulative discovery and destruction by this command of about twenty six (26) hectares of cannabis sativa plantations at four different locations in the state, with approximate weight of 302,390.40kg and street value of over three billion naira shattered the myth and serve to confirm the status of Kogi state as a major cannabis sativa cultivating state, probably in league with Ondo and Edo states.
“These operations also led to the arrest of a total of One Hundred and Seventy Four Suspects (174) comprising of One Hundred and Sixty Two (162) male and Twelve (12) female.
“It is worth mentioning also that the modest intervention of this command in intercepting huge quantities of assorted drugs drastically reduced drug availability to the insurgents and other armed bandits in the northern part of Nigeria. There’s no gainsaying the viability of NDLEA, Kogi State Command,” he said.
The State Commander said the command has been able to secure 15 convictions in court. He added that 17 other cases are still pending in court.
“Where it was possible to trace and connect any of their assets to drugs, these have been seized and some vehicles have actually being forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria while some others are still under interim forfeiture.
“It is our avowed commitment to continue to deny and deprive drug barons and dealers in this state the benefit and pleasure of enjoying returns from their noxious business. This is why the Agency painstakingly investigates and identifies assets of drug merchants that are connected with their drug trade for seizure and eventual forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The impact of this singular approach is the removal of incentives for venturing into the drug business in the first place and additionally, the crippling of the economic base to continue with such harmful business. This aspect of our anti illicit drug trafficking measure is critical and remains very powerful and effective deterrent that the Agency will continue to deploy,” he said.
Adewumi called for collaboration from well meaning individuals and bodies who share in NDLEA’s dream and determination to rid Kogi state of the scourge of drug.