I am delighted to be at this all-important event. Today, we are gathered to publicly destroy 16, 697.639 kilograms of the illicit substances seized by NDLEA Plateau State Command. I consider this quantity of drugs to be frightening, compared to the population of the State. It leaves us without doubt that there is high prevalence of demand for drugs in the State.
Between January 2020 and now the Agency has destroyed a total of 167, 436.6898 kilograms of drugs including today’s figure. Public destruction of exhibits to us is the triumph of good over evil. It underscores our collective opposition to the nefarious activities of a few individuals who are determined to ruin the lives of families and polluting our communities as well as our economy and endangering the great potentials of this Country.
In our operation in the North Central and even North East where there are challenges of insecurity, we have to see drug as an energizer of insurgency and terrorism. The military has continued to seize various types of drugs in many of the terrorist camps they have taken over. Drug and violence are mutually inclusive and reinforcing.
The breakdown of the drugs we are about to set ablaze also points to a disturbing drug abuse trend. Contrary to the long standing notion that Cannabis is the most widely abused drug, we can see here in Plateau State, a more pervasive abuse of pharmaceutical drugs of prescription such as cough syrup with Codeine and Tramadol. These drugs have become more prevalent than Cannabis sativa, cultivated locally. While Cannabis is 3, 592.862 kilograms for destruction, psychotropic substances stand at 13, 104.799 kilograms and 7.2 grams of Cocaine.
Let me seize this opportunity to assure the general public that NDLEA is on top of the challenge posed by the trafficking and abuse of these pharmaceutical drugs. We need the cooperation of Government and the whole of society if we must pull down this drug scourge ravaging our communities.
We need to double our efforts for very obvious reasons. Recent research finding shows that illicit drug use in Nigeria has reached a pandemic proportion. It is worrisome to know that the menace has permeated every facet of the society and exacerbated insurgency in the country, radicalization and violent extremism, cultism in campuses and domestic violence, among others.
The proportion of the Nigeria population found to be dependent on drugs cut across both public and private sectors, including arms bearing personnel, saddled with the responsibility of protecting civilian population, those in position of responsibilities such as civil servants, doctors, teachers, as well as those in the critical sector of the economy such as drivers of passenger vehicles or articulated and long haul petrol tankers plying roads throughout the length and breathe of this country.
As part of its drug demand reduction preventive measures, NDLEA has developed drug integrity test initiative to be administered on all classes of people beginning with personnel of all law enforcement agencies and civil service of the federation. This initiative is expected to start with all services that are arms bearing and engaged with the security and law enforcement duties in the country and Civil Service of the Federation, at the level of recruitment and promotion exercises. The aim of NDLEA Drug Integrity Test in Public Service is to strive to achieve a drug-free Public Service. It is not punitive in implementation but made for the overall interest and wellbeing of public officers and the service of the Federation.
Permit me to note that NDLEA and Plateau State have enjoyed a long standing cooperation in addressing the menace of drugs. The State Government and the people of Plateau State have been very supportive of the Agency’s onslaught on the drug criminals. I am particularly indebted to the personal commitment of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Simon Bako Lalong, Kss, who has ensured the success of our anti-drug programmes and other efforts aimed at stamping out the drug menace. I would like to commend your leadership for the ongoing construction of a comprehensive Counselling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Complex with a Skill Acquisition Centre by the State Government. This is in addition to the donation of vehicles and other forms of assistance to the NDLEA Plateau State Command. Let me also express our profound appreciation to all security services for their collaboration with NDLEA in the State. Today’s outcome is a product of our collective efforts. I would also like to thank the Gentlemen of the Press for your role in the information dissemination and education of the general populace.
I would like to thank you all for coming and may God continue to reward our collective efforts.