The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Kogi has destroyed 18,083,787 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa and other psychotropic substances seized over the last four years in the state.
The drugs worth millions of Naira, from decided cases between 2014 and 2017 were set ablaze in the presence of security chiefs on Thursday in Lokoja.
Col. Muhammad Abdallah (Rtd), Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA said the torched narcotics compromised 17,865.235 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa and 218,552 kilogrammes of Psychotropic substances including Tramadol, Diazepam, Code in and other banned substances.
Abdallah in his opening remarks said every state in Nigeria was being confronted with the challenges of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking with over 14 per cent of the productive population actively engaged in illicit drug use.
“The Nigeria Drug Use Survey recently released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) came up with findings that were striking and alarming on the pervasive drug use problem in the country.
“The report puts the drug use ratio
14.4 per cent among age group of 15 to 65 years of our population. This calls for concerted efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of this menace on the health, socio-economic and security of our nation.
Represented by his Chief of Staff Director of Narcotics in the agency Femi Olaruntoba, the Chairman said the Agency was strengthening its drug demand reduction strategies to improve its visibility in places such as market places, motor parks, schools and joints.
Speaking on the cultivation of Cannabis for medicinal and wellness purposes in the country, Abdullah stressed that the law prohibiting cannabis or dealing had not been repealed and was still in force.
In his address, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi described the event as symbolic, saying that there was need to destroy the drugs before drugs destroyed the nation saying that there was serious correlation between commission of crime and drug addiction.
Bello who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government Dr Folashade Ayoade-Arike commended NDLEA for its effort in making such huge seizure.
He assured that his administration would continue to accord maximum support to NDLEA to enable it perform its statutory functions in the interest of humanity and urged parents to know the friends their wards keep.
Earlier, Alhaji Bello Idris, Commander of NDLEA in the state wondered what kind of crimes the seized quantity of drugs would have triggered ranging from rape to armed robbery, homicide among others if not seized from the merchants.
Bello appealed to parents, schools, corporate organizations, religious bodies and government to continue to support the fight against the deadly monster (drugs abuse).
Heads of security agencies, the Army, Navy, Customs, DSS, FRSC, NSCDC, immigration, CSOs, NBA, Commissioners, other government functionaries and fire fighters graced the occasion.