…Anambra lawmaker says Drug abuse propelling insecurity in Nigeria***
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA) on Tuesday warned shipping lines and agents against illicit drug deals and peddling.
The NDLEA Special Area Commander, Mr Ameh Inalegwu, gave the warning during an anti-drug constructive engagement with shipping stakeholders in Lagos.
Inalegwu advised the shipping lines to effectively monitor their business systems to prevent unscrupulous businessmen from hiding illicit drugs in their consignments.
The newsmen report that the engagement was to re-examine shipping lines and agents’ business procedures.
He said that the agency needed to stop the inflow of illicit drugs into the country through the waterways.
According to Inalegwu who is also the Narcotic Commander of the Apapa Special Area Command, about 3,349.25 kg of assorted drugs were seized on Lagos inland waterways between January and May.
He said, “This agency had made several arrests and seizures from inland waterways arrival and departure points.
“Apart from Cannabis Sativa cultivated in commercial quantities, the arrest of opiates like Tramadol being exported from Nigeria calls for concern.
“It appears the shipping lines are not bothered about the cargoes they bring into Nigeria, which most times, resulted in false declaration.”
Inalegwu said that this unconcerned attitude had impacted the economy and security of the country negatively.
“From investigations, some shipping lines are actually aware of these false declarations, thus, collaborating with unscrupulous businessmen to circumvent the laws of the land.
“It is unfortunate that some information on your manifest and Bill of Lading are intentionally vague too, thus frustrating investigation.
“However, NDLEA is here to tell you that the war against illicit drug peddling through waterways would get hotter.
“If any shipping line or agent is caught with illicit drugs, the Nigerian Correctional Centre (NCoS) would become an abode for the perpetrators,’’ he said.
The Lagos State NDLEA Commander, Mr Alumona Callys, urged the shipping lines personnel to equip themselves with Nigerian laws designed for the shipping sector.
He said ignorance of the law would not be accepted as an excuse by any shipping line caught peddling illicit drugs
The Director, of Seaport Operations, Mrs Omolade Faboyede, urged the operators to join hands with the NDLEA in its ongoing War Against Drug Abuse (WADA).
She, however, commended the special area command for educating maritime stakeholders against such unscrupulous deals.
In the meantime, an Anambra lawmaker, Dr Nnamdi Umeh, has identified the high rate of drug abuse among youths as the major factor propelling insecurity in the country.
Umeh, also the House Committee Chairman on Health, made the assertion while speaking with journalists in Awka on Tuesday.
He said that the rate at which youths who were potential leaders of tomorrow were deeply involved in drug abuse called for concern.
“Insecurity is bedeviling our society and there is no way we can overcome it without addressing the causes, one of which, is drug abuse among our youths.
“Many youths today have lost dignity and focus, while many have severe health challenges owing to drug abuse.
“We cannot fold our hands and do nothing, therefore, I want to appeal to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), and other stakeholders to embark on intensified sensitization of youths on the dangers of drugs and substances abuse.
“Such sensitization will help the youth to understand that no one who indulges in drugs lives a successful life.
“Drug abuse affects not just the user but the family and the society at large.
So, we need to safeguard their future,” he said.
Umeh said that the House Committee on Health would partner with the NDLEA and other relevant bodies to curb the trend of drug abuse in the state.
He also urged residents to support the campaign against drug abuse to solve the problem of insecurity.