*Arrests 544 suspects
By Melvin Uche, Maiduguri
The Borno State Command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the weekend said it recorded seizures of 16, 904. 313.8kgs of assorted illicit drugs and arrested 544 suspects in Borno state between January and December 2020.
The State Commandant of the NDLEA, Mr. Joseph Icha disclosed this while summarising the successes recorded by the Agency within the year under review to our correspondent in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Mr. Icha noted that of the 544 suspects arrested, 537 are males, while 7 others are females , adding that 44 seizures was recorded without the suspects who fled the scene of operations.
He listed variety of the seized drugs to include cannabis sativa, variety of psychotropic substances, cocaine and heroin.
He said nine different types and models of cars and one urvan mini bus were seized from drug peddlers, adding that the command secured three interim forfeiture of three of the vehicles.
According to him, the Command is also processing an interim forfeiture of three bedroom flat and two room boy’s quarters used by suspected drug dealers to stockpile over 10,500kgs of cannabis sativa.
” We also secured interim forfeiture for N1.95 million within the period under review . A total of 397 offenders went through counselling by interim intervention while 14 others went through residential counselling, ” Icha said.
The Commandant said more worrisome is the alarming rate of drug abuse in some of the internally displaced persons ( IDPs ) camps, adding that since the Agency don’t conduct raids in the camps in order not to compound the situation of the displaced persons, a surveillance is usually mounted in the camps in collaboration with the security agencies there to track down suppliers of illicit drugs to the camps.
He however, said despite these successes recorded, the Command is facing some challenges such as poor infrastructure , logistics challenges, lack of vehicles for patrol and operational funding.
” With the security challenges in Borno, indeed Northeast and considering the quantity of drugs and seizures, there is need for more funding to the command. We have already set a record that we need to improve upon. At no time has Borno recorded seizure of over 16,000kgs of variety of illicit drugs if not now. For us to maintain and sustain this record, we need government attention both from state and federal government.
” Most of our vehicles previously at the liberated communities have been burnt by the Boko Haram terrorists, including our speed boat at Baga. So we need more vehicles to patrol around,” Mr Icha said.
Our correspondent reports that in August last year, the Command conducted a public destruction of illicit drugs exhibits weighing about 19,234.58kg comprising cocaine, heroin, tramadol, cannabis sativa among others. End