Pubdate: Wed, 03 Mar 2004
Source: This Day (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2004 This Day.
Author: Nneoma Ukeje-Eloagu


The United States Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs yesterday released its annual report in which Nigeria is described
as "a major drug-transit country" with criminal elements operating global
trafficking/criminal networks around the world.

According to the Department of State's International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report (INCSR) prepared in accordance with a489 of the U.S. Foreign
Assistance Act (FAA), "Nigeria is a major staging point for Southeast and
Southwest Asian heroin smuggled to Europe and the United States and for
South American cocaine trafficked to Europe."

The INCSR provides the factual basis for the Presidential narcotics
certification determinations for major drug-producing and/or drug-transit
countries required under FAA a490. The law requires that fifty percent of
certain kinds of assistance be withheld from all such countries, required to
be identified and reported to Congress by the President by November 1 of
each year, pending the President's March 1 certification determinations.

If a country is not certified, most foreign assistance is cut off and the
United States is required to vote against funding by six multilateral
development banks to that country.

In according a status to Nigeria, the report states that "Nigeria does not
produce precursor chemicals or drugs that have a significant effect on the
United States but is a major drug-transit country." It further noted that
"Nigerian drug organizations are also heavily involved in corollary criminal
activities such as document fabrication, illegal immigration, and financial

Seizures of hard drugs in 2003 were described as "modest," with cocaine and
heroin totaling 130 kilograms and 70 kilograms respectively and no one
seizure exceeded 15 kilograms.

The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEAD) is reported to have seized
more than 937 kilograms of synthetic drugs and more than 530,000 kilograms
of cannabis. The successes of some NDLEA State Commands were also reported,
"with one State arresting 58 persons and seizing 1,700 kilograms of
cannabis, 10 kilograms of cocaine and 9 kilograms of heroin between
September and November 2003."

NDLEA achieved limited success in combating the various elements of the drug
trade during 2003.On the whole however, NDLEA efforts with large scale
traffickers was noted to be less effective than efforts at "street pushers."

Cannabis is listed as the only illicit drug produced in large quantities in
Nigeria and is cultivated in all 36 states with Major cultivation taking
place in central and northern Nigeria and in the Delta and Ondo states in
the south. The report however noted that "to date, there is no evidence of
significant marijuana imports from Nigeria into the United States." 
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