Over 145 drugs traffickers have been knocked out of circulation in Rivers State since January 2022 with over 722 kilograms of illicit drugs.
The Rivers State Command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said in PH on Saturday, June 25, 2022, that cocaine and heroin topped the list.
The Commander, Ahmed Mamuda, said the NDLEA was determined to ward off traffickers from the state with active support of the Rivers State government.
Speaking to stakeholders mostly youths and students at the Rivers State University (RSU) after a walk around the city to mark the 2022 UN International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, the Commander spoke on: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis”.
Mamuda said drug abuse has emerged as the biggest threat to the next generation, saying the society or a nation can easily be wiped out by drugs.
He said drug is behind violence and insecurity that seem to take over Nigeria at the moment, saying citizens must rise up to defend itself by joining the war against drug abuse, which he aid knows no age or religion.
He said the NDLEA as the statutory body concerned with the eradication of drug abuse is poised to root out the agents of death in our society. He said the Command has been working round the clock to make Rivers State a no-go area for drug traffickers.
He disclosed that from January 2022 to date, the Command’s operational efforts have resulted in the arrest of over 145 drug suspects (26 females and 119 males), with a seizure of 722.23kg of various illicit drugs, mainly cocaine, heroin, cannabis sativa, methamphetamine, and other psychotropic substances.
He said the command has also secured the conviction of 58 drug suspects to various jail terms within this period while 60 cases are still pending at the federal high court, Port Harcourt.
“This year, the emphasis is on those already caught in the unfortunate web of drug addiction, hence the theme: ‘Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis.’ Emphasis is on addressing transnational challenges stemming from situations of crisis.
“We continue to advocate protecting the rights to health for the most vulnerable including children and youth, people using drugs, people with drug use disorder, and people who need access to controlled medicines. So, do your part,” he said.
He said the Command beside arresting and prosecuting drugs dealers also offers counseling and rehabilitation services to those that have fallen victim to drugs and cannot seem to find a way out.
According to him, “The Drugs Demand Reduction unit of the Rivers State Command has admitted 27 drug dependent (clients) since January 2022, while a total of 21 have been counseled, rehabilitated, and reintegrated into society. There are currently 28 drug-dependent clients in our facility undergoing this process.”
In his remarks, John Best Uche, the Director of Right Minds Leaders Network, one of the main partners of the campaign in the state, said the effect of the event is a reduction in the crime and other social vices that have bedeviled our society to a large extent and to an almost-irreparable state.
“This is also to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), specifically goal 3 – Health and Wellbeing (Target 3.5: Strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol).
“Narrowing it to Rivers State where it is almost becoming a trend. This would also serve as a measure to curb the menace of increase of violence which can be traceable to abuse of drugs,” he said.
Grace Alowa from the Sustainable Actions for Nature, one of the partners, in a chat with BusinessDay, called on the government to move faster and harder on issue of drug abuse before it sinks the society.
Cyril Chisom, Director of Socials of the Students Union Government of the RSU, told BusinessDay that the SUG has made war against drug abuse as a big project because of the young persons they see everyday perish due to addiction. He appealed to parents to keep close eye on their children no matter how big they have grown.