… Seizes N6bn drugs as part of its 2022 Commemoration Program***
The Apapa Special Area Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will increase awareness on the consequences of illicit drug use within the port and the Apapa host communities, particularly, Ijora and Amuwo-Odofin in view of their direct proximity with maritime operations.
This is against the backdrop of the message for the International Day Against Drug Abuse (IDADA).
Briefing newsmen on the preparedness of the Command to mark the Day, the Area Commander, Mr. Ameh Inalegwu, said that June 26 of every year has been designated by the United Nations to commemorate the drug day and that all segments of society are urged to adopt actions that sensitize their immediate communities aimed at achieving a World free of Drug use and trafficking.
Inalegwu hinted that the theme for this year’s commemoration “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises” is not only as topical as it is thought-provoking but consistent with the spirit and letter of the War against Drug Abuse (WADA) which is the theoretical framework of the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd.).
According to him, the theme urges us to critically interrogate the mechanisms for mitigating the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs if we must guarantee sound health and favourable human conditions in our communities.
He averred that available records show that drug use accounts for most of the health problems while it aggravates conflicts, crime and criminality and problems of insecurity, generally.
He disclosed that his command in collaboration with Nigeria Customs Service recorded drug seizures worth more than N6bn which included 1,518kgs of Tafrodol brand of Tramadol (225mg & 250mg) weighing 3,553 kilograms.
Inalegwu said this is an addition to the seizures of 14,0800 kilograms of Cough Syrup with Codeine in March with 350 grams of Cocaine and 150 grams of Heroin.
He summarised the total seizures recorded to 19,703.25kg of assorted illicit drugs between January and June 2022.
He announced that the command has seized the initiative of this year’s Anti-drug Day to embark on some activities that will increase awareness and knowledge of the potential health, social and legal consequences of illicit drug use and provide accurate information on illicit drug habituation.
Working in alignment with the initiative of the National Headquarters of the Agency, the commander said that the Command will in the next seven days be reaching out to all categories within the aforementioned communities, starting with the Press Briefing, a Walk against Drugs through the streets of Apapa on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
He stated that a group of parents will be gathered at the Apapa Local Government Secretariat for an anti-drug sensitization on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, adding that this will be followed up on Thursday, June 23, 2022, with a Student Forum/Symposium, an in-gathering of students from various schools to be mentored by an internationally recognized Drug Prevention Expert.
He disclosed that in deference to the faith-based approach, all the worship centres within the communities are being urged to devout their sermons to the consequences of drug use and illicit drug trafficking in the Juma’at and church services on Friday and Sunday within the week, stating that the activities will be crowned with a Grand Finale/Town Hall meeting which will bring in all stakeholders within the communities in order to chisel out workable mechanisms to keep drug merchants at bay and prevent drug use among the populace.
He said that operating within the maritime corridor saddles the command with the responsibility of maintaining the momentum of the Drug War which has been rekindled by General Marwa (Rtd.).
“We are not unmindful of the status of the Sea Port as the “gateway” and the almost limitless opportunities it offers unscrupulous maritime operators to ship in drugs in a volume that far outstrips what can be smuggled in through land or air transportation.
Hence, making the Port impregnable is a task that must be done.
And by so doing, we need to mobilize all and sundry using the “whole society” and “joined hand” approach.
“The commemoration of the Anti-Drug Day will no doubt help to consolidate the gains of the stakeholder engagements that the Command has embarked upon in the last two months.
The Command has had an interface with the Terminal Owners, Terminal Managers, Shipping Lines as well as Shipping Agencies who have assurances of their readiness to cooperate and work in synergy with NDLEA.
The Agency needs the veritable intelligence hints that this set of stakeholders are in the best position to provide.
“Be that as it may, our operational antenna will continue to remain high up in our readiness to bring down any non-cooperating entity within the maritime space.
This is validated by the numerous seizures the command has recorded in the last few months,” he said.
Inalegwu extended his profound appreciation to all our stakeholders, especially the sister security agencies at the Port for the synergy that has brought about the various drug seizures, saying that “we do know that together we can achieve more.
I look forward to a massive turnout for the commemoration”.