The Akwa Ibom deputy governor has said the state government would do everything within its power to contribute to the attainment of zero case profile in drug related offences in the State and Nigeria at large.
Mr Moses Ekpo gave the assurance at the second publicmosque auction of illicit drug exhibits in Akwa Ibom by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), in Uyo, recently.
The deputy governor who described the event as epochal, acknowledged that it was a positive report- card on the work of the agency as well as the product of the healthy collaboration existing between the agency and state government.
He commended the leadership of the agency’s chief executive officer, Brig-Gen Mohammed Marwa, (rtd), noting that his appointment has positively altered the performance narrative of the agency nation-wide.
According to him, the efforts of the NDLEA has resulted in the upsurge of drug seizures, arrests and convictions at critical drug corridors across the country, adding that the Akwa Ibom Command made a recent arrest and seizure of 90 kilograms of substance suspected to be amphetamine, and other seizures recorded during routine operations, with street value estimated at more than N2 billion.
“This has obviously rubbed-off on the Akwa Ibom state office, with the result that we have been able to more effectively contain the challenges of drug abuse and illicit trafficking”, he stated.
While appreciating the role and contributions of the United States government and the United Nations to the success story of the agency, he also thanked other security agencies for their support to the work of NDLEA.
The deputy governor urged the Federal government to further empower the NDLEA with more funding to enable them to not only give support to state offices, but procure needed work tools for a revolution in the fight against unhealthy drug use.
“I call on Nigerians to team up with government in the war against drug-use and illicit trafficking. The negative implications of drug-abuse are far- reaching, including adverse effects on the health of our people, avoidable road accidents and drug-related criminality,” Ekpo appealed.
He was of the opinion that if the present tempo of work in fighting the scourge of drug abuse was sustained with cooperation from non- state actors and parents, there would be no more weeds to burn in the near future.
The chairman and chief executive officer of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen Mohamed Marwa, (rtd), represented by the Agency’s Secretary, Shedrach Haruna Esq., announced that destruction of these illicit drugs totalling 2.768 tonnes were those seized between 2014 to September 2021, stating that the last public destruction of illicit drugs in Akwa Ibom was carried out in 2014, in line with the Agency’s Act which mandates it to take measures for the destruction of seized narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The chief executive officer said the agency would not rest on its oars, but would continue to exploit all avenues within the ambit of the law to rid the country of the menace of hard drugs.
He mentioned that the NDLEA was not only involved in arrest and prosecution of drug offenders, but also tackling the scourge through aggressive drug awareness and sensitisation programmes targeting the vulnerable youths and other groups. He disclosed that the agency recently launched a 24/7 toll-free call centre for members of the public who may need help on drug related matters.
Marwa appreciated the federal and state governments and other partners for their support and determination in kicking drugs out of Nigeria.
The destroyed drugs included cannabis sativa, cocaine, heroin and other psychotropic substances.
The agency had, earlier in a courtesy visit on the deputy governor, requested for a land by the state government for the construction of a staff barracks for the command as well as the establishment of drug free clubs in schools in order to curb the menace.
The secretary to the State government, (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, head of civil service, Elder Effiong Essien, commissioners, Zonal Commander, Zone N of the agency, Mrs. Anthonia Edeh and State commander, Mrs Obot Bassey as well as service chiefs were at the event.
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