By Bukola Adetoye/Lagos
Brig.Gen. Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA), said 4.5 million people in Lagos are hooked on drugs.
And to cut off their supply source, Marwa today ordered the operatives of the agency to wipe out the drug cartels in the State.
Marwa gave the order when he visited the agency’s command in Lagos for an on-the-spot assessment of its facilities.
The NDLEA boss was on the second day of his three-day assessment visit to the various commands of the agency in the state, including other entities that are of strategic importance to the operations of the agency.
Marwa, a former Lagos governor, decried the high rate of illicit drug trafficking in the State.
He said that the state is responsible for 30 per cent of the total drugs abusers in the country.
“In the country, an estimate of 15 million people belong to one or more aspects of illicit drug dealing.
“This means about 4.5 million people in Lagos State are into illicit drugs,” he said.
Marwa said some of the factors responsible for the illicit drug scourge in Lagos State include: the huge population, the presence of two seaports and airports and a huge number of unregistered medicine sellers.
According to the NDLEA chairman, there are about 1.58 million patent medicine stores in the country.
“Out of the figure, only 58,000 patent medicine outlets are registered while about 1 million others remain unregistered.
“ This has really enhanced sales of illicit drugs in the state,” Marwa said.
He commended the agency’s commandant in Lagos State, Mr Ralph Igwenagu on his efforts at ridding the state of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.
“ It is only through the combined efforts of all the officers that the agency can win the fight against drugs, “ Marwa said.
Marwa reassured officers of his commitment to improve conditions of service for enhanced service delivery.
“I know this command needs a befitting edifice. This will be worked on as soon as possible,” he said.
Igwenagu commended the NDLEA’s boss for according Lagos State command utmost attention within his short time of assumption of office.
He said that the command would speedily intensify efforts to achieve his directive, to ensure ‘a drug free Lagos State”.
Igwenagu said that the command arrested 471 drug offenders in 2020 in spite of the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the arrest comprised 424 males and 47 females and added that the offenders were arrested at various locations in Lagos.
“”This year, the command seized 11,798 kilogram (over 11 tons) of various illicit hard drugs and 722.31 litres of same illicit drugs (liquid) from dealers and joints in the state,” Igwenagu said.