The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo command, said it arrested 374 suspected drug traffickers for illicit drugs peddling between June 2021 till date.
Mr Buba Wakawa, State Commander of the agency, disclosed this on Monday in Benin, at the grand finale of the 2022 UN Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Wakawa said the figure comprised 281 males and 93 females.
He also disclosed that the command within the period, seized 26,960.593 kilo grammes of suspected psychotropic substances.
He explained that cannabis sativa constituted the bulk of the seizure, adding that also 48 suspected cannabis sativa farms with cumulative measurement of 63.8 hectares were destroyed.
The commander further said the command also successfully counseled and rehabilitated 257 drug-dependent clients and reunited them with their families.
“We also secured 58 convictions within the period, while 76 cases are still pending in court”, he said.
Wakawa said the theme for the year “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis”, was apt.
“From this year’s theme, it is obvious to decipher the damaging consequences of drug, and drug-related abuse and trafficking in illicit substances in families, society and the world at large.
“There is no gainsaying the fact, as witnessed int humanitarian crisis being caused in the world today, is a result of drug use and trafficking.
“It is from this year’s theme’s background that I stand tall and bold to spread the gospel to you to collectively push for the sensitisation, awareness and campaign to dissuade our teeming youths from reckless use of substances of abuse.”
He stated that the audacity of youths and other criminal minded elements to perpetrate their unwholesome evil on the society after taking substances of abuse, could not be underestimated.
“The story of their escapedes abounds everywhere in this country and in the world.
“”The NDLEA as an institution, has a mandate to curb drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the land.
“And so with this mandate as our weapon, we can truly beat our chest as we have and still making incursions and huge progress in addressing the multi-faceted drug problem.
“This is in a bid to visibly checkmate the trend and bring drug use and crime to its knees,” the commander further said.
Earlier Prof. Obehi Akoria, Chairman, Edo state Drug Control Committee (EDCSS), said the 2022 theme was informed by the need to look at the drug problem through the lens of public health.
Akoria, represented by Mrs Edith Sede, Secretary of the committee, said this was with a view to tackling it as a broader social problem, rather than through the conventional, narrow, criminal matter approach .
She noted that drug trafficking was an international illegal trade that involved the production, cultivation, dissemination and sale of prohibited substances.
According to her, drug and substance abuse had become a major public health challenge confronting youths and the entire world.
“The menace of this social vice is far reaching and millions are being dragged into the black hole, unknowing to them.
“This is aside the obvious damage it had done to thousands of families in our immediate society.”
Similarly, the Edo Government says it is ready to partner with stakeholders to check the menace of drug abuse, to have a drug free state.
Acting Governor of the state, Phillip Shaibu, represented by Mrs Otaniyenwa Obarisiagbon, Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said this in his goodwill message at the event. (NAN)