Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday urged the government to declare a state of emergency against drug abuse in Nigeria.
According to him, the seizures cut across its West Marine, Zone A (the Entire South West), FOU Zone C in Ogun 1, and FOU Zone B(comprising ten states and the Federal Capital Territory) commands.
“The seizures were 14,340 kilograms of Parcel of Compresses Indian Hemp, 660 packs of Tramadol, 225mg, 50 parcels of books, 292 Jumbo sacks, 1,461 compressed Indian Hemp, 1,765 packs of Indian hemp, 960 sacks (1kg each), 2,042 packets of D5 and others”, he stated during a press briefing at the event.
Adeniyi also said that during the seizure exercise, five suspects were arrested and one was granted administrative bail.
Highlighting the alarming volume of illicit drugs seized across the country, Adeniyi emphasised the urgent need to address the escalating issue of drug abuse, especially by Nigerian youths. He said countering the drug epidemic requires collaborative efforts among critical agencies.
Citing the World Health Organisation (WHO), which consistently warns against the consequences of unchecked drug abuse, the CGS drew attention to the dangers of these substances as “a ticking time bomb that threatens the very fabric of our society.”
He stressed that beyond being mere substances, Cannabis Sativa and Tramadol are insidious destroyers, posing severe threats to public health, security and social harmony.
He linked the consequences of unchecked drug abuse to increased crime rates, compromised public safety and hindrance to economic development.
“This is not solely a Customs or NDLEA concern; it is a national crisis that demands immediate and collective attention. The alarming extent of this menace is vividly illustrated by the widespread nature of the seizures, spanning across various customs commands nationwide,” he stated.
The CGS further emphasized that the battle against illicit drugs requires a united front, including the communities, who he urged to see themselves as key partners in the quest for a drug-free nation.
“It is not just a responsibility of law enforcement agencies; it is a collective duty of every citizen. By partnering with Customs and NDLEA, communities become the first line of defense against the menace of illicit drugs,” he added.
He assured that those involved in this illicit trade will be brought to justice, as the enforcement agencies are actively tracking collaborators and will ensure that the country’s laws regarding drug trafficking and abuse are rigorously applied to ensure that justice is served, and the guilty parties are held accountable.
On his part, Mohammed Buba Marwa, Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, lauded the customs for the seizures.
Represented by Bashir Samuel Gadzama, Director of Operations and General Investigation of NDLEA, Marwa said illicit drug usage is connected to the spread of crime in Nigeria.
He assured that the seizure would be immediately destroyed to guard against its circulation in society.
“Customs and NDLEA are setting the pace for what interagency collaboration should be. For every crime and criminality in Nigeria today, drugs play a significant role.
“We will not only take over the exhibit, but if there is a lead, we are ready to investigate. We ensure that we immediately destroy them. We are not going to give room for its circulation into society”, he said.
SOURCE: Business Day