By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
National Drugs and Law Enforcement Agency( NDLEA) in conjunction with Interpol and other agencies, have seized 881 kilogrammes ofÂ illicit drugs as a result of a joint operation conducted in Sokoto State andÂ the Nigeria-Niger border.
The Chairman of the Agency, Col. Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), disclosed this in SokotoÂ on FridayÂ at the closing ceremony of a five-day Joint Training and Operations Exercise organised by the ECOWAS, in conjunction with Interpol, in Sokoto.
Abdallah stated that the seizures were made sequel to the joint operation code-named, ” Operation Ninibo, Nigeria-Niger border.”, adding that six suspects, including a 12- year old boy, were arrested during the operation.
He gave the breakdown of the seizures as: Diazepam 67.10kgs, Tramadol 22.60kgs, cough syrup with codeine 794kgs and 30kgs of cannabis.
According to him, there was robust existing Protocol between Nigeria and Niger republic, which is the background of these efforts to rid the region of illicit drugs.
”It is against this background that the agency is currently working out modalities to engage member states of the sub-region on bilateral agreements.
”This will lead to the signing of Memoranda of Understanding that will strengthen cooperation, enhance intelligence sharing and mitigate constraints,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, represented byÂ Col. Diange Abdulrahman, described West Africa as a regional hub for the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and other related crimes.
Souza saidÂ lack of effective management and control of West Africa land, sea and air borders fostered the prevalence of illicit drug trafficking, as well as organised crimes.
The Leader of the team from Niger Republic and Commissioner of Police,Â Salifou Assoumane, restated the commitment to rid the Nigerian-Niger borders of illicit drug trafficking, criminal networks and the sale of illicit drugs.
The Interpol Team Leader, Mr. Hakidu Illo, saidÂ the training centred on how to detect illicit drugs concealedÂ in vehicles, shoes, containers and other personal effects of the drug traffickers.
He added that theÂ operation was also aimed at clamping down on illicit drug cartels and to recover stolen vehicles from Europe, alongside other vital documents, such as International Passports.