Alexander Okere and Gibson Achonu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Tuesday disclosed that it had arrested at least 287 suspected drug traffickers for alleged drug trafficking in Edo State.
The Imo State Command of the agency also said that it seized 128, 870 kilograms of hard drugs between June, 2017 and July, 2018.
Speaking with Southern City News in Benin, the Edo State Commandant of the NDLEA, Mr Buba Wakawa, said the suspects, comprising 213 males and 74 females, were arrested between June, 2017 and May, 2018.
Wakawa, who spoke at an event to mark the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, explained that a total of 43,664.392 kilogrammes of various drugs were seized from the suspects.
He said 42,466.711kg of the seized drugs tested positive for cannabis, 1,197.680kg were psychotropic substances, while 0.0489kg and 0.0308kg of the drugs were discovered to be cocaine and heroin, respectively.
He also stated that the agency secured 34 convictions, counselled and reintegrated189 drug dependants into the society.
Wakawa lamented that Edo was faced with the challenge of cannabis cultivation by suspected drug traffickers in the different parts of the state, adding that 36 farms measuring 57.614 hectares had already been identified and destroyed by the agency in the last one year.
“The plantations are spreading over arable forests like a wild fire. An aerial survey conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force, exposed the extent of cannabis cultivation in the state. This is not good for a state that is famous for the production of food and cash crops,” he said.
The commandant further decried the spate of substance abuse among youths, a challenge he said had “stolen the peace and harmony in most families across the state.”
He urged parents to pay attention to the activities of their children, through quality supervision and enlightenment, to prevent them from falling victim to peer influence and the desire to experiment with drugs.
Meanwhile, the Imo State Commandant of NDLEA, Mrs. Assiana Nimbang, disclosed in Owerri that the confiscated 128,870kg of drugs was recovered from 68 suspected drug dealers.
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