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NDLA arrests 29 suspects, seizes 493.263kg illicit drugs in Rivers



NDLEA Seizes Cannabis, Tramadol in Katsina

…Joins NGO in sensitising Lagos students on drug abuse***

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Rivers State Command, arrested 29 suspects and seized 493.263kg of illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, Cannabis Sativa and methamphetamine (aka Mkpurunmiri).

Mr Ahmed Mamuda, the Rivers State Commander, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement by Mr Emmanuel Ogbumgbada, the Assistant State Commander, Media and Advocacy in Port Harcourt.

Also read: NDLEA arrests female drug dealer with 78 bags of cannabis

Mamuda said the Command acted on credible intelligence by the officers of the command in the state who carried out stop and search operation along the East-West Road, Ahoada axis of the state from Oct.10 till 11, and intercepted a gold colour Toyota Sienna SUV with Reg No – Abuja YAB 70 BR conveying 20 bags of cannabis Sativa weighing 251.4kg, from Benin to Owerri.

Mamuda stated that the driver of the SUV, Mr Segun Ajayi 35 years, who was conveying the exhibit was arrested and taken to custody.

According to Mamuda, the Command made another seizure of 15 bags of cannabis Sativa weighing 161.4kg inside one ash-coloured Toyota Camry saloon car with Reg No ABUJA RBC 590 BQ with two male occupants who, on sighting our officers, abandoned their vehicle, took to flight and escaped into the nearby bush.

“All efforts to apprehend them proved abortive.

The vehicle was later found to be registered in the name of Egbo John Uche who is suspected to be the owner of the abandoned exhibit.

“While Segun Ajayi is already volunteering useful information, we are exploiting all available sources to track and bring Egbo John Uche to justice as soon as possible,” he said.

Mamuda explained that the command, in September, arrested 28 suspects comprising 20 males and 8 females with a total seizure of 81.255kg of illicit drugs which included Narcotic drugs such as cocaine, heroin, Cannabis Sativa and methamphetamine (aka Mkpurunmiri.)

Others are psychotropic substances such as tramadol, swinol, Exol-5, diazepam, Amphetamine, and talen.

Mamuda urged Rivers people to continue to supply actionable intelligence that would lead to the eradication of illicit drug business in the society.

In the same vein, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Keep it One Hundred Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), on Wednesday sensitised some secondary school students on the dangers of drug abuse.

The newsmen report that the sensitisation programme took place at Agidingbi Senior Grammar School, Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Juliana Anake-Ugwu, NDLEA Principal Staff Officer, Treatment and Rehabilitation, said that the programme was aimed at curbing drug abuse in schools.

Anake-Ugwu said the prevalence of drug addiction could be as a result of the immediate environment or family upbringing.

“Our environment and the family we come from determine a lot,” she said.

According to her, NDLEA is fighting the war against drug abuse from two perspectives of supply reduction, dealing with arrest and prosecution, as well as drug demand reduction.

“In Economics, they say the lower the demand, the lower the supply, so we are tackling it from this angle so that people can be aware.

NDLEA Principal Staff Officer, Treatment and Rehabilitation, Lagos State Command, Mrs Juliana Anake-ugwu, sensitising the students of Agidingbi Senior Secondary School on the war against drug abuse in Lagos.

“The way to curb illicit drugs is by sensitisation, letting them know, especially at this stage because early use of drugs could hinder the way the brain develops.

“If the brain does not develop properly, it will hinder someone’s productivity and output in life.

“So, we let them know at this young age that experimenting with illicit substance is a no,” she said.

Anake-Ugwu advised pupils and parents to seek professional help for any young child experimenting with illegal substances.

She added that the NDLEA has its counselling and rehabilitation centres across the state.

“When a child is being taken to any of our centres, we profile them. Also, there are other government facilities that take care of a child’s mental health, treatment and counselling,” she said.

Also speaking at the event, the Founder of the NGO, Mr Victor Enyeazu, said that the organisation would work more with the NDLEA to sensitise other schools across the state.


Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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