By Seriki Adinoyi
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has destroyed 16,697 kilogramme of illicit drugs seized in Plateau State.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), while supervising the destruction of the drugs at Nanfang Mountain off Shen road in Du district of Jos South Local Government Area yesterday, said the quantity of drugs sized was alarming considering the population of the state.
He said contrary to the long standing notion that cannabis is the most widely abused drug, in Plateau State, a more pervasive abuse of pharmaceutical drugs of prescription such as cough syrup with codeine and tramadol is on the high.
Abdullah alluded that going by the numbers of seizures, there is no doubt that there is high prevalence of demand for such drugs in the state.
He also observed that in the North Central and North-east regions where there are challenges of insecurity, the rate of drug abuse is high, thereby believing that drug abuse plays a critical role as enhancer for insurgency and terrorism.
The state Commander of NDLEA, Ibrahim Braji, said the Command has so far arrested 1,530 suspects in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. “The command has also secured conviction for 423 suspects to various jail terms, and there are still pending cases before the Federal High Court for arraignment, trial and prosecution.”
He lamented that “in Plateau State alone, about 40.12 acres of cannabis sativa plantation were discovered and destroyed in some LGAs between 2017 and 2019 estimated to be 117,347.4kg.”
The state Governor, Simon Lalong, who also supervised the destruction of the drugs, said many of the security challenges confronting the country such as kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, cultism, rape and other associated problems such as road accidents, are associated with the illicit drug business.
He said: “With the collaboration of all security agencies and the citizens of the state, my administration has worked assiduously to bring to an end to recurring crises and criminal activities in this state. We remain committed to consolidating on the gains recorded in order to give our people the right environment to prosper.”