By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Rtd), says five drug barons controlling different cartels across Nigeria are in their custody.

He said the five are part of 2, 180 drug traffickers arrested in the past five months since he assumed office.

He spoke at the launch of War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) in commemoration of the United Nations International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Abuja.

He said, “Our efforts have yielded positive results. The numbers have been impressive: over 2, 180 traffickers arrests, including five drug barons controlling different cartels across Nigeria; a record 2.05 million kilograms of drugs intercepted and seized across the country; 2,100 drug offenders prosecuted with 500 jailed by courts, and a total cash and drugs seizure valued at over ninety billion naira (N90 billion).

“While the statistics are impressive, we wouldn’t deceive ourselves that we have succeeded in cleaning the Augean Stable in five months. We have only made a head start. We need to sustain the momentum. We need to win the drug war. We cannot afford to be complacent.

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“Officers and men of the NDLEA have a collective resolution to clean up Nigeria and make our country drug free. And in this campaign, we are tackling the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking on all fronts.

“In addition to the arrest and prosecution of drug offenders, we have worked out intensive drug abuse awareness and sensitization programmes targeting different groups, with an emphasis on youths.

“In this regard, my administration has thrown the door open to all for partnership in the fight against abuse of illicit substances. It is to this end that we have set up a Special Purpose Committee to involve stakeholders in the cause.

“I have also embarked on an advocacy drive to governors, opinion and community leaders, faith-based organisations and the like. Today, I am seizing this opportunity to urge everyone to muster the moral fibre to complement the NDLEA effort in the war against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Cooperate with us to spread the message.

“Within the framework of an organic solution, the drug problem has a public health dimension that recognises the need for treatment, rehabilitation and general care for People Who Use Drugs (PWUD).

“While Nigeria presently has a shortage of treatment centres for people with drug use disorder, the Federal Government is making efforts at ensuring that drug rehabilitation centres are available across the six geopolitical zones. This will enhance access to treatment and reintegration of treated drug users into their families and societies.”

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