By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Kaduna State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Samuel Azige has said that the success recorded in 2017 was not in terms of quality of drugs or the number of suspects arrested but in respect of the quality of drugs that was seized in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Speaking to Reportcircle.com Correspondent in an interview at the Agency’s headquarter in Kaduna on Friday on the 2017 success, challenges and 2018 projection, Mr. Azige disclosed that starting from 2016, the Agency hard a total of 18. 2 tons of drugs seized.
Breaking it down, the Commander said the psychotropic substances alone comprising diazepam, tramadol and codeine consist of 16 tons, 550.2 Kg while cannabis sativa consist of 1 tons,748.03 Kg, saying if put the 2 together, it will amount to the total of 18 tones, 298.3 Kg in 2016.
He then informed that in 2017, the Agency had 952.3Kg total quantity of cannabis sativa seized, psychotropic substance 1 ton, 880.2Kg, adding that if compared to 2016 of 16 tons and 2017 1 tons, there is a big gap and reduction in the number of drugs seized which shows a remarkable progress both arrest and seizure during the period under review.
Mr. Azige pointed out that in terms of conviction, the Agency had a total of 16 people convicted and out of the number, 2 persons hard 15 years sentence each unlike previous years they have only 4 or 3 years sentence while 12 females was also arrested for drugs offences in 2017.
“2017 was very eventful in the sense that we recorded a very huge success but the success is not in terms of quality of drugs or the number of suspects arrested but in respect of the quality of drugs that was seized in 2017 as compared to 2016. 2016, the Agency had a total of 18. 2 tons of drugs that were seized.
“Psychotropic substances alone comprising diazepam, tramadol and codeine which consist of 16 tone, 550.2 Kg then cannabis sativa consist 1 oner,748.03 Kg. if you put the 2 together, it will give you a total of 18 tones, 298.3 Kg.
“But in 2017, we had total quantity of cannabis sativa 952.3 Kg, psychotropic substance, we have 1 ton, 880.2Kg and if you compared it to 2016 of 16 tons which in 2017, we had 1 tons so there is a big gap and reduction in the number of drugs seized.
“In cannabis, which we have over 1 ton in 2016, 2017 we have less than 1 tone so this shows a remarkable progress. And in terms of conviction, we had a total of 16 people convicted and out of the number, 2 hard 15 years each which is a very big sentence because previously, we use to have like 4 years or 3 years sentence but this time, we recorded 15 years jail term.
“In the number of female arrested were 12 for drug offences in 2017 that shows that the Agency has recorded a very huge success both arrest and seizure during the period under review.
“I have already forwarded the report to the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufia. You can remember that in 2017, early January when l submitted the report of 2016, the Governor was scared of the quality of drugs that was seized in the State and he invited me on how to reduce the intake and distributions of the drugs and l told him that we just need to re-strategies which has given us the success in 2017.
“If in a year, we have recorded less than 3 tons of total seizure of drugs, it is a very good effort. If you look at the previous arrest, all the quantity use to be on the high side but now it has reduced and it is because of the co-operation we received from the public spirited people, Mr. Azige stressed.
The State Commander affirmed that the Agency’s projection for 2018 is to further reduce the drug problem in Kaduna State both in seizure and in terms of arrest as they have come up with new mechanism and methods deigned and adopted for quantity of drug to go down.
According to it is also for the Agency to continue to work with all stakeholders including the journalists because part of its success is the publicity it received from the media in the fight against drugs both trafficking and consumption.
“Our projection for 2018 is to further reduce the drug problem in Kaduna State both in seizure and in terms of arrest. We have come up with new mechanism and methods that we have deigned and we have adopted it so it is our projection that in 2018 the quality of drug will still go down.
“It is also to continue to work with the Stakeholders including the journalists because part of our success is the publicity we received from the media and if you do any work and is not publicized, nobody will know what you are doing so this year we are going to collaborate more with the media because the media is one of the serious stakeholders in the fight against drugs both trafficking and using.
“We are going to work more with media and the traditional institution, youth leaders, religious and community leaders because we discovered that they have information on all the drugs activities in their localities and if that can volunteer information for us, it will help us to sanitize such community.
Mr. Azige however appealed to the members of the public for their co-operation and support by providing vital information and assured them that any information given to the Agency would be treated with confidentiality.
“There is a specialized Agency for the ‘Control of Substance Abuse’ established by the State Government in 2017with the aim of working in collaboration with the NDLEA and other relevant stakeholders to create awareness on drugs issues and also to provide canceling and rehabilitation services for people who have already hook on drugs.
“We will definitely make impact in the State and make people who are on drugs to come out. So all the success we recorded is as a result of the awareness that has been created because most of the times, the information l received was from the public which have given us the success.
“On the rehabilitation of drug abuse, the Agency have recorded success because the Cancelling Centre has been a Referral place where people refers their wards from Abuja, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Jos, Nasarawa and Niger States because we have a very qualified personnel who is in charge, even the Nigeria Custom Service and the Nigerian Army send their personnel to conduct drugs test on them which the Centre is now over stretched.
“I would want to appeal to the members of the public that l has enjoined their co-operation and support for the previous years and we want to count on their support this 2018.
“line l have said, we cannot record any success without their co-operation of the public, so we encourage that they should provide us with vital information and l, can assured them that any information given to the Agency with be treated with confidentiality”. He ended.