By Muhammadu Sabiu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) states that it has seized 100 million pills of the prescription painkiller Tramadol in just 22 months.
The agency estimated the combined value of the cash and illegal narcotics to be about N450 billion. In addition, the agency detained 29 drug lords, while detaining 23,907 drug traffickers.
Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman of the NDLEA, said this in a statement released on Tuesday through the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
Marwa said the confiscated Tramadol may have had a negative influence on the youth population and the nation’s productivity.
He said this during the Commands’ Awards/Commendations and Decoration of newly promoted officers at the Agency’s National Headquarters, Abuja.
Marwa said, “Within the period under review, the Agency arrested 23, 907 drug traffickers including 29 barons.
“Our seizure was over 5,500 tons or 5.5 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs, which together with cash seized are worth over N450 billion.
“In the same period, we have taken the fight to the doorsteps of cannabis growers by destroying 772. 5 hectares of cannabis farms. In these 22 months, we have record convictions of 3, 434 offenders. We have equally made good strides in our drug demand reduction efforts where the number of those counselled and rehabilitated is 16, 114.
“The figures are mere statistics until you view them through the lens of human impact and the good or harm that could have come to society, the impact on public health, security as well as law and order if those dangerous drugs had gone to the street. Take, for instance, the one hundred million pills of tramadol seized in the past 22 months.
“If those pills had gone into circulation and ended up in the hands of young people, it would take a heavy toll on lives, families, productivity and, ultimately, the GDP of the country because it will affect these young people who are the engine room of productivity.
“We usually calculate our performance as monthly, quarterly or yearly appraisals. But drug law enforcement is generally a continuum, hence, I am wont to always appraise our efforts from January 2021, when we began far-reaching reforms, reviewed our strategies and rejigged the existing systems to accommodate innovations.
“From then till now, we have been on an upward trajectory. And indeed, what we have done in the last 22 months, from January 2021 to October 2022, based on the available statistics, is cause for celebration.”