Taking The Drug War To Households
For Josephine Obi, Akwa Ibom State commander of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, there is everything to involve parents and guardians in the fight against illicit drugs in the state. According to the agency’s discovery, Akwa Ibom State is no longer only a consumer of hard drugs but producer as well.
In 2011, NDLEA seized a total of 645.67kg of the substance and destroyed four cannabis farms located in Ikot Ekpene, Ini, Ikono and Ibesikpo Asutan. A number of arrests were also made. They included 19 suspects (comprising 14 males and five females) who were arrested in March 2011. One of the suspects, Isaac Umoh Christopher was allegedly in possession of 293.8kg of cannabis sativa. Umoh fled from Edo State where he allegedly left 384kg of the substance. A suspected cocaine pusher, Hamed Badmus was arrested in Uyo with 12.2kg of cocaine. One Ifiok Sunday Essien was also arrested with 28.250kg in July last year. Essien had escaped arrest for more than two times. A total of 52.755kg of cannabis sativa were recovered from him. 13 other persons including a female were also arrested in the same month.
Recently, 29 suspects made up of 25 males and four females, who were allegedly in possession of 6.1957 kg of cannabis sativa, were arrested by the command. Three suspects were also convicted. Among the convicts was a man who had served a term in prison for the same offence previously. The ex-convict admitted that he went back to the illegitimate business because he had no money to engage in useful and legal venture. Those involved in the illicit business include a septuagenarian.
Challenged by the increasing rate of the use of illicit drugs in the state, the command launched a campaign to educate parents and guardians on the effects of hard drugs such as cannabis sativa, heroin, cocaine, and combine (a mixture of illicit gin and hemp) on the youths. The command has declared this year a season of reducing the health consequences of drug abuse in the state. The state commander, Obi said the agency had carried the same programme to schools, market places and motor parks to enlighten students, youths, market women and transporters on the dangers of the use of banned drugs. Obi said the command was ready to ensure a drug-free society and charged parents and guardians to put on their drug-free vest and be vigilant, enlightened, show good example and talk about the effect of drugs to their children and wards.
Condemning the effect of drugs in Nigeria, the NDLEA chief noted that drug abuse and trafficking have far reaching negative moral, economical, political, social, criminal and health consequences and thus people should be drug-free and remain so.
“This is the season for vigilance in order to keep our society healthy and secure. A little care will save lives, a lot of heartache and criminality. Be vigilant. You need to keep your children close to you and remain vigilant,” she added.
To ensure effective attainment of a drug-free society, the agency’s boss pleaded for community partnership and urged the public to join in the crusade of cleansing the state of illicit drugs by guaranteeing the officials of NDLEA reliable information that would lead to the arrest of drug dealers, because according to her, “we cannot do it alone.”
Idop James, a legal counsel, told this magazine that the bane of positive growth of any young person is drug addiction. He linked his argument to a number of related cases in the society and some civil matters at the police station which are traceable to the abuse of drugs.