Pubdate: Sun, 07 Jul 2013
Source: Leadership Nigeria (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2013 Leadership Newspapers Group Limited
Author: Yahya Sarki


Kebbi state has been identified as a drug cartel in recent times as
notorious drug barons have found it a haven for their illicit trade.
YAHYA SARKI writes on the efforts of the NDLEA and Voluntary Youth
Groups to curb the menace.

Recently, the 2013 International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug 
Trafficking was held with the theme, "New Psychoactive Substance: Make 
Health Your 'New High' in Life, not drugs". This day was set aside by 
the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 42/112 of 7th 
December, 1987 in honour of one Lin Zexu who dismantled the opium trade 
in Guangdong just before the first opium war in China. The purpose of 
this day which was established in 1987 is to create a society free of 
illegal drug use and trafficking. The use of illicit drugs and 
trafficking has continued to pose great health danger to humanity in 
terms of safety and wellbeing, especially the young people.

LEADERSHIP Sunday had the opportunity during the recent celebration of
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug to talk with
some of the suspects of drug trade and how they carry out their
nefarious activities in Kebbi State and the efforts of NDLEA in Kebbi
to bring this social menace under control. Kebbi being one of the
border states and transit points used by some of the drug barons to
cage in Cannabis Sativa popularly called 'Indian Hemp' and
Psychotropic substances such as 'Totulin'. The nefarious activities of
drug traffickers in Kebbi undermine socio-economic and sustainable

It is alarming to note that the Kebbi NDLEA Command had within the
last six months from arrested 84 suspects including one female and
recovered 175.644 kg of Cannabis Sativa and 26.219 kg of Psychotropic
substances respectively. Interestingly, 52 suspects have also been
successfully prosecuted by court following the effort of NDLEA in the
state. This revelation was made by the Kebbi State Commander of NDLEA,
Olu Okonkon during this year's day to commemorate the International
Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking .

It is commendable to note that apart from the herculean task by the
agency to curtail the activities of criminals involved in the sale and
distribution of these illegal substances ,two functional counseling
and rehabilitation centres have also been established in Birnin Kebbi
and Zuru and already this effort has started yielding positive
results. The State Commandant told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the
rehabilitation process of the agency has counseled and rehabilitated
55 and 19 clients respectively, 14 clients have been successfully
rehabilitated and handed over to their families while 5 clients were
currently undergoing rehabilitation process.

Investigations revealed that the two rehabilitation centres where drug
dependent persons can pursue vocations and facilities for skills
development such as computer literacy, barbing and tailoring have been
provided. Families with drug dependent persons have started taking
advantage of these centres, rather than consigning their drug
dependent wards to hopelessness and despair. Some of the suspected
drug traffickers narrated to LEADERSHIP Sunday how they were recruited
by the drug barons and how they operated through a network.

A 50-year old suspect, Alh. Nuhu Garba arrested with 48.5 kg of
Cannabis Sativa and 2.25kg of Diazepam with two vehicles confessed, "I
am a family man of one wife and eight kids and I come from Jega town.
I have been in this business for many years having been employed by
the drug barons to sell each bag of Indian hemp at the cost of N25,
000.00 per bag. Although I regretted what I do, but I had to do it to
survive with my family since I have no work to do".

Another suspect, Abdullahi Aliyu who was arrested with 33.10 kg of
Cannabis Sativa said, "I am from Zuru and a driver with one wife and
four children. They (drug barons) hired me to transport the commodity
to them and they pay me a lot of money depending on the load of the
illegal consignment. I believe I ran out of luck that is why I was
caught in the act".

Kasimu Kurma (another Suspect) arrested with Diazepam weighing 1.3 kg
is a deaf man. Kasimu Kurma according to NDLEA was an ex-convict who
after his jail term returned to the illegal drug business by using
under aged children as proxies or hawkers under his tutelage. Kasimu
came from the border village of Tsamiya in Bagudo local government.

Abubakar Mumin (also a Suspect; 40 years) from Jega was recruited by
the drug barons as a driver. According to him, "They usually give me
N5, 000 for just to drop their drug commodity from one point to
another, but at times they give more. I don't do it regularly".

Similarly, Mustapha Mohammed arrested with Cannabis Sativa weighing
36.35 kg and Sani Yahaya, arrested with Cannabis Sativa weighing 9.8
kg and Diazepam weighing 10.75 kg, declined comments.

It is interesting to point here that the community in Shiyar Sarakuna,
Nasarawa II, in Birnin Kebbi, has started heeding the call of NDLEA
for the involvement of the community to help stem the scourge of
illicit drug use and business. Recently, youths in the area organised
themselves and launched an operation, captured and handed over some
sellers and smokers of Cannabis Sativa in the area to the Police or
NDLEA agents. Following the youths intervention in the location of a
notorious area called 'Majalisa', the popular hub for illicit drug
business which also harboured criminals and miscreants day and night,
the area is now relatively witnessing absence of the usual drug business.

A visit to the place by LEADERSHIP Sunday correspondent revealed that
it is no more drug business as usual as youths keep vigilant eyes in
the area and are ever ready to arrest any body found either selling or
smoking Indian hemp and psychotropic substances.
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MAP posted-by: Matt