By Mustapha Usman
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has in the last four years arrested 34,499 persons in connection with drug related offences across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, between 2012 and 2015.
In a report obtained by the Economic Confidential in Abuja, Kano State in the Northwest geo-political zone is number one among the states in the federation with highest cases of drug-related offences within the period under review, just as the zone is also number one among the six geopolitical zones in the country with 8,939 cases.
Katsina State comes second with 2,173 cases of arrests by the NDLEA, while Plateau and Ekiti states are third and fourth respectively with 1,342 and 1,088.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered the two states have been leading the chart in the past few years.
Findings by Economic Confidential reveal that in 2012 alone, 8,052 cases were recorded by the agency, 8,843 in 2013, 8,826 in 2014 and 8,778 in 2015.
In the geopolitical zones after Northwest, Southwest is second position with 6,999 cases, North Central came third with 5,574 cases, while the fourth position was grabbed by South-South geopolitical zone with 5,545 cases.
The South-East and North-East geopolitical zones however had lesser cases and arrests with 4,230 and 3,212 respectively. It is surprising that North East geopolitical zone with years of terrorist attacks and insurgence is the least with cases of drug-related offences meaning that terrorism may not likely be connected with drugs but mindset and coercion.
A careful analysis of the report indicates that of the 34,499 cases of arrests across the country, over 32,000 cases involve men, while a little over 2,000 were of the female category, meaning that men were more involved in drug offences than the womenfolk within the period under review.
Also in the last four years, the quantity of narcotic drugs seized by the agency via the various states and Area Commands were 1,578,723. Of this number, 233,376 were for 2012; 344,985 for 2013; 165,652 is the number for 2014 while the figure for 2015 is 834,709.
More findings by Economic Confidential reveal that NDLEA secured a total number of convictions for drug-related offences put at 7,317 within the period under review. Of this number, 1,738 convictions were secured in 2012, 1,865 for 2013, 2,054 for 2014 while 1,660 convictions were secured for the year 2015.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the NDLEA, Muhammad Abdallah, assured members of the public of strict narcotic screening at the Kaduna airport. This, according to him, will help in preventing illicit movement of narcotic drugs by drug cartels.
Mr Abdallah made the pledge following the interception of two suspected drug traffickers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja few hours to its closure with 2.150kg of heroin from Tanzania and 386 grammes of cocaine to Cambodia.
Preliminary investigation revealed that both suspects had planned to capitalize on the temporary relocation to Kaduna airport in moving narcotics at the Abuja airport but the NDLEA promptly nipped the plan in the bud. The suspects are currently under observation pending their arraignment in court.
NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Hamisu Lawan said that both suspects tested positive for narcotic ingestion during routine screening.
In his words, “two suspected drug traffickers, Odogwu Augustine Ike, 57, caught with one hundred and ten (110) wraps of heroin weighing 2.150kg from Tanzania on an Ethiopian airline flight and Lekwauwa Mark Otaka, 53, found to have inserted seven wraps of cocaine weighing 386 grammes into his anus on an Egypt airline flight to Cambodia have been arrested. Both suspects are currently under investigation”.