Remarks by Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd.) Chairman/Chief Executive, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA at the Public Destruction of Exhibits by NDLEA Borno State Command on August 21, 2020 in Maiduguri
I am delighted to be in Borno State to attend to this very significant event of public destruction of drug exhibits seized by Borno State Command of the Agency. This event is significant because it is the first of its kind in the State Command under my leadership.
The symbolic importance of this event is to ensure that all seized drugs are permanently put out of circulation and stopped from doing any further harm to society. It is also for all stakeholders to bear the Agency witness that seized drugs are ultimately destroyed and that drug merchants are further decimated with the burning of their illicit investments in drugs, as they spend their years in prison.
The Act establishing the Agency demands that an Order must be granted by the Federal High Court which will enable the Agency to destroy by public burning all the drug seizures that the cases have been concluded. Following the Court Order, we are gathered to destroy a gross weight of 19,234.58 kilograms of drug exhibits made up of Cannabis sativa and a variety of psychotropic substances. Relative to the population of the State and considering the well documented nexus between drugs and violent crimes, the quantity of drugs seized over the years is worrisome. Aside from what has been ordered for destruction, there is still a significant quantity that the cases are pending in courts. The drug situation in the State is compounded by its proximity to the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon and further compounded by the porous borders. Only recently, 10 tons of Cannabis was intercepted within Maiduguri metropolis.
The number of drug seizures, arrest and conviction of drug dealers in the state validates the position of hard drugs as a conflict multiplier that exacerbates insurgency violent, crimes, cultism in campuses and even domestic violence among others. This is presently a source of concern considering the state of insecurity in the state and the entire northeast region with its attendant dislocation of the living condition of the people. The situation becomes more alarming when we take into account the fact that the target of the nefarious illicit traffic in drugs, which hitherto used to be the male youthful population is fast expanding. Currently, the vulnerable groups have expanded to include teenage girls, young women and even older married women who are mothers of our children that are supposed to be custodians of discipline at the home front to nurture our children into responsible adults.
It is for this reason that the Federal government is focusing on the drug problem in the new national security strategy as this is fundamental to the resolution of the many security challenges confronting the country. New policy initiatives are therefore underway to ensure that the country overcomes the twin problems of illicit traffic and abuse of drugs. As an extension of the proposed Drug Integrity Test Policy in the Public Service, NDLEA is also considering partnering with religious leaders to make drug test a pre-requisite for marriage in the churches and Mosques as in the case of HIV/AIDS and Genotype tests. We can no longer remain indifferent and refuse to take responsibility in the effort to control drugs. We must come to terms, the drug issue is a shared responsibility, for the whole society. We need well-meaning individuals and agencies to join hands with the NDLEA. We need investment in the setting up of treatment and rehabilitation centers in order to restore the integrity of drug dependent persons who should be useful to the society again. Parents need to reclaim their God-given mandate of molding the character of their wards rather than shirking their responsibility to teachers and religious leaders who should only reinforce the role of parents.
Permit me to commend the efforts of Borno State Government which has continued to support the NDLEA State Command. I wish to formally thank His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, FNSE, mni for the donation of vehicles to the NDLEA Borno State Command and the proposed renovation of the Command Office accommodation by the State Government.
Our sister security agencies in the State have been very supportive. The synergy must be sustained because drug consequences do not discriminate. It is in the national interest that we all join hands to maintain a hold on the drug challenge.
I wish to thank you all for turning out and may God reward our efforts.