THE GLOBAL BATTLE AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING.
BY GODWIN UKAA.
June 26 of every year is World Drug Day. This is the day set aside by the
United Nations, UN, for people to be aware of the dangers posed by hard drugs
and Illicit Trafficking globally.
Since 1987 when UN instituted the day, most countries of the world including Nigeria have been commemorating it.
This is the day when countries turn their focus on strengthening action and
co-operation in tackling illicit drugs in all forms.
This year’s theme is “Global action for healthy communities without drugs.” It
reinforces the role that communities play in addressing the drug challenge in
The UN focus is a clarion call on nations to do more to tackle the menace of
drugs and see the drug war as a collective responsibility of all. The world body
therefore charged countries of the world to institute successful strategies in
drug use prevention and treatment that would involve families, schools and
communities to build on protective factors against all forms of drug abuse and
The drugs in focus here are Opium/Heroin, Coca/Cocaine, Cannabis and
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, world drug report released
in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital, shows that the United States and mostly Europe are
where cocaine, heroin are produced and highly consumed and trafficked at a
global level of thirty-six percent.
Africa might not be a producing continent of such drugs but recent statistics
reveal that it is becoming a drug transit zone through some countries in East Africa. In fact, in 2009, heroin seizures were highest in Southern and North
However, Africa is not exempted from the drug menace, Cannabis herb which is
known in local parlance as “marijuana, wewe, igboo or grass” is commonly
produced, trafficked and highly consumed in Africa.
In West Africa, Nigeria is in the forefront on the battle against drug abuse and
illicit trafficking. The Nigerian government in 1990 established the National
Drug law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for this purpose.
In its operational scorecard, the NDLEA revealed that this year alone, the
agency has publicly destroyed over one hundred and thirty-four thousand
kilogrammes of illicit drugs seized from major drug traffickers in the
Besides, almost two thousand suspected drug dealers were arrested and
over ninety-nine thousand kilogrammes of various drugs were also seized. This is
in addition to ninety-three hectares of cannabis farmland equally destroyed by
the agency in Nigeria.
In fact, with a committed trained workforce, the NDLEA has zero tolerance for
corruption, it adopts detailed investigation, best practices in exhibit handling
and diligent prosecution of offenders. Because of this, Nigeria was delisted from
the United States drugs major lists in September last year.
But, for the drug law enforcement agency in Nigeria to sustain this momentum,
some vital issues must be addressed.
NDLEA needs to be adequately funded by government. There is also need for the
private sector, corporate organisations and other international agencies to
compliment the efforts of government in this direction, as the effects of drug
abuse knows no bounds.
In a country of over 150 million people, a paltry 3,300 staff strength of the NDLEA is not enough to police the
illicit drug business in the country.
Meanwhile,the Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria has been engaged in some
sensitization programmes aimed at reducing the overall domestic demand for
These include provision of information to the youths, the highly risk group, on
the attendant problems of drug abuse and trafficking, the infusion of elements
of drug education in the curriculum of the primary, secondary and tertiary
institutions. This is in educating the school pupils and students on the grave
consequences of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
It is also raiding cannabis farmlands, destroying the products and arresting the
farmers in rural areas in the country.
At the airports, full screen of travelers is done and it has paid-off with the
arrest of over two thousand persons this year alone.
The agency has also confisticated properties of convicts which run into billions
of naira and even within its staff it was able to convict its former boss,
Alhaji Bello Lafiaji for tampering with exhibits.
The battle against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Nigeria is indeed a
total responsibility of all and sundry. It therefore beholds on all members of
the society to join forces with government and the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency to stamp out drug abuse and trafficking.
That way, Nigeria will have a
society devoid of all forms of drugs and trafficking.
Broadcast on Thursday July 06, 2011
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