Mohammed Buba Marwa, Chairman of NDLEA Photo: Channels TV

NDLEA seizes 2m kg of illicit drugs, warns against legalisation of cannabis in Nigeria

*The country cannot afford to mortgage the lives of the citizens for financial gains by legalising cannabis ─Mohammed Marwa, Chairman of NDLEA

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In continuation of the regulators’ onslaught against illicit drugs and substance abuse in the country, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed its operatives seized over two million kilogrammes of assorted illegal drugs from January to May 2021.

Mohammed Marwa, Chairman of NDLEA, stated this Monday, June 21 while addressing reporters in Abuja, FCT, ahead of the 2021 World Drug Day scheduled for June 26, 2021.

The NDLEA Chief explained that within the same period, the agency made 2,180 arrests, including five drug barons while 2,100 drug cases have been filed in court, out of which over 500 convictions have been recorded and 1,549 cases are still pending.

According to Marwa, those were recorded following the launch of the agency’s offensive action against drug cartels across the country five months ago.

A new trend in drug abuse has emerged in Kogi State, where young people engage in smoking a local substance called ‘lope’ which looks like Marijuana, said he.

He noted that those who take the substance in the state believe the local substance can fortify them against knives, bullets, and other metallic tools.

Drug abuse, he said, contributes largely to insecurity, violent extremism, among other acts.

In a related development, Marwa has opposed demands for the legalisation of cannabis in Nigeria.

He contended that the country could not afford to mortgage the lives of the citizens for financial gains by legalising cannabis.

In response to earlier calls by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State for the legalisation of cultivation of Cannabis Sativa in the country, Marwa on Monday said it is not acceptable to NDLEA.

He rather declared that the anti-narcotics agency would continue to burn down marijuana farms and prosecute whoever is caught doing the business in the country.

Such calls by the Ondo State Governor and some lawmakers must be resisted at all costs, he stated.

The NDLEA Chairman also reiterated his suggestion to have politicians subjected to drug testing before they are allowed to contest for elective positions.

This measure has become necessary to ensure that only ‘sane persons’ are allowed to lead the country in whatever capacity, Marwa said.

Students and intending couples should also be subjected to drug tests, he said.

Meanwhile, Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has said that there are at least three million Nigerians struggling with drug-abuse-related habits.

Stolpe stated that the recent research by the UNODC has shown a steady rise in abuse of drugs and that cannabis is the most abused substance in the country.

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