Pubdate: Sat, 14 Mar 2009
Source: Punch (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2009 The Punch
Author: Ademola Oni


The Ogun State Government has called on the National  Drug Law 
Enforcement Agency to find 'appropriate' ways  of disposing the drugs 
seized from drug barons and  traffickers in the country.

The State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who spoke at  the burning 
of 3,015 kilogrammes of cannabis, cocaine  and heroine in Abeokuta on 
Friday, said the burning of  exhibits in open air constituted 
environmental hazard.

Represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Dr.  Olukoya 
Adeleke-Adedoyin, the governor expressed worry  that the burning of 
the exhibits had weakened the fight  against climatic change.

Daniel had earlier pledged the support of the state  government for 
the agency and other security agencies  in the state to curb crimes 
and illicit drug trade,  saying the state had kept the youths busy 
with its job  creation initiatives.

The Director-General of the NDLEA, Chief Tunde  Ipinmisho, however, 
disclosed that the agency was  working in collaboration with the 
Federal Ministry of  Environment to construct incinerators in 
strategic  parts of the country to dispose the exhibits.

The incinerators, whose numbers Ipinmisho could not  disclose, would 
soon come on stream before the end of  the year. He added that the 
agency had initiated moves  to collaborate with banks and financial 
institutions in  the country to expose drug barons and deny them the 
opportunity to enjoy their illicit wealth.

The NDLEA DG said, "We are liaising with banks and  financial 
institutions to ensure that those who amass  illicit wealth through 
drug trade are denied the chance  to enjoy their illegal wealth. We 
will get to the roots  of their wealth and curtail their excesses.

"Our strategy is to cut off the source of illicit drug  supplies 
thereby denying drug addicts access to drug.  We will also embark on 
anti-drug enlightenment  activities to educate people on the dangers 
of drug  cultivation, trafficking and abuse."

A breakdown of the 3,015 kg of the narcotic and  psychotropic 
substances said to worth about N10million  had 60 pinches of cocaine 
and 51 pinches of heroine  while the largest chunk was cannabis, 
popularly known  as India Hemp, which constituted 3,014 kg.

The DG stated that 7,899 suspected drug offenders were  arrested in 
2008 while 336,442.84kgs of illicit drugs  were seized in the 
corresponding period while  89,700.986kgs of drugs had been burnt 
this year with a  street value of N400m.

He disclosed that the anti-drug agency handled 3,227  drug 
counselling, treatment and rehabilitation cases  with Ogun State 
accounting for 109 cases.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Commander of the NDLEA,  Chinyere Obijuru, 
has expressed deep concern about the  involvement of teenagers in 
drug peddling and abuse in  the state.

"These days, even primary school compounds and pupils  are used to 
peddle drug and this unfortunate situation  should not be allowed to 
degenerate as these youths are  the future of our nation," she said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart