Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says the agency will not rest on its oars despite the significant inroads it has made in tackling drug abuse in the country.
He warned officials of the agency not get carried away by the laudable achievement in checking the menace of drug trafficking, he asked them to turn up the heat on those profiting from scourge of drug abuse, reminding them that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Marwa, who spoke on Saturday at the launch of War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), an initiative of NDLEA, said the agency has seized over N90 billion worth of drugs in the past five months that he has been in charge.
Marwa said over 2,180 drug traffickers have been arrested, including five drug barons controlling different cartels across the country.
The NDLEA boss added that a record 2.05 million kilograms of drugs have been intercepted and 2,100 drug offenders prosecuted, out of which 500 have been jailed.
“While the statistics are impressive, we wouldn’t deceive ourselves that we have succeeded in cleaning the Augean Stable in five months. We have only made a head start. We need to sustain the momentum. We need to win the drug war. We cannot afford to be complacent,” Marwa said.
“It is not difficult to conclude that drugs have been catalysts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and various violent conflicts that are currently Nigeria’s albatross.
“The enormity of the danger of drug abuse calls for an urgent need to nip the problem in the bud. This is the reason we have redoubled our efforts in the past five months with the maxim of offensive action.
“Today, it is a glaring fact that Nigerian youths are involved in drug abuse. Over the years, an undesirable subculture had flourished whereby adolescents and young adults wantonly indulged in the abuse of illicit substances.
“They not only became addicted to conventional substances such as cannabis and prescription opioids, such as tramadol and codeine, they also experimented with dangerous mixtures leading to novel psychotropic substances such as “monkey tail” and “skoochies”.
“So, it wasn’t surprising when research began to give us bleak statistics. The National Drug Survey 2019, for example, indicated that cannabis is the most commonly abused substance by an estimated 10.6 million Nigerians, some of whom started smoking as early as 19 years of age.”
Marwa linked the successes recorded by the agency so far to the commitment of NDLEA officers to clean up the country and make it drug-free.