With its unique location as a transit zone between the North and South of Nigeria, Kogi State has been described as a high-risk State for illicit drugs business and consumption.
The State Commander of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mr Alfred Adewumi who made the observation at the launch of War Against Drugs Abuse, WADA, Lokoja on Thursday, also decorated 18 newly promoted officers with their new ranks.
Adewumi disclosed that the state command has seized 56,223.824kg of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called Indian hemp, through the efforts of its patrol operation, between 2020 and September 2021.
Adewumi noted that the figure of the seizure excludes cannabis Sativa and other illicit drug mop ups through the agency inland operation.
“The combination of the unlawful but thriving drug business at the Ogbogwu Market in Onitsha, with the possible existence of clandestine laboratories for the production of methamphetamine in both Anambra and Delta states which are neighbouring states to Kogi as well as the proximity and easy access it provides to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, further make Kogi State high risk for the illicit drug business.
“The waterway provides opportunity to traffic drugs from Cannabis Sativa plantations and psychotropic substances markets in Edo, Delta and Anambra states and ferried across River Niger into Idah in Kogi, and for upward distribution into the far northern states of Nigeria.
“The discovery of over twenty-six hectares of Cannabis Sativa plantations in the eastern part of the state in the year 2020 and another twenty acres in the year 2021 in the same axis are indicative of domestic cultivation of drugs.
“It can be surmised that the vital positioning of Kogi State, as well as the multi-racial composition of the state’s demography along with its proximity to the FCT and other peculiarities enumerated above, make the state a strategic and veritable location for transit traffic, local production/cultivation and consumption of drugs,” he said.
On the launching of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), Adewumi explained that it is a call for civil action for all Nigerians to take an active part in combating drug abuse and circulation in the country.
He recalled that on 26 June 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) which by the directive of Brig. General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, directed that it should be replicated in states and to consequently devolve to the local governments and eventually to the family as a unit.
“During the launch, the President while urging all well-meaning citizens to enlist in the war against drug abuse asserted that the drug war was more dangerous than the war against insurgency and banditry because it targeted three generations for destruction,” he added.
The command also decorated 18 officers who were promoted to a new rank.
Speaking on the newly decorated officers, the Commander noted that the NDLEA in Kogi, under his watch, has broken seventeen years record of seizures, and quality arrest adding that the newly promoted and decorated officers have distinguished themselves and have been deemed meriting of promotion to the next higher ranks by the management of the agency.
In his goodwill message, the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Idrisu Dauda, admonished the newly decorated officers to increase on their performances adding that success has friends while failures have orphans.
He explained that NDLEA is a silent achiever, stressing that the present problem of insecurity in the country could be traced to illicit drugs in society.
“If you want to destroy a society, let there be illicit drugs everywhere. Most of the criminal element is acting under the influence of drugs”, he added.
Dauda, however, called for synergy between the Police and NDLEA, stressing that, the command is fully ready to collaborate with all stakeholders to combat crimes and criminality in Kogi state.
On his part, Abdullahi Mbaya, the Kogi State Controller, Nigeria Correctional Service reminded the newly decorated officers not to see their new rank as increments in salary but more commitment to serve their fatherland.
The State Security Adviser, Navy Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd.) commended the NDLEA for synergizing with security agencies in the fight against illicit drugs in Kogi State.
“What NDLEA did in one year under the present Commander in Kogi State is commendable. We recorded series of arrests and discoveries of large cultivation of cannabis sativa in Ofu, Igalamela, Idah local governments and many more. If these hard drugs had gained entrance into society the security situation will worsen.
“We are aware that some of these drug peddlers have changed tactics. They are now using hotels to perpetrate their crimes. We are coming after them. The present administration will continue to protect the lives and properties of its citizens,” Omodara said.
He warned youths to stay away from drugs as anyone caught will face the full wrath of the law.