The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Edo Command, said on Tuesday that it apprehended no fewer than 287 suspected illicit drug traffickers between June 2017 and May.
Buba Wakawa, the State Commander of the agency, disclosed this in Benin at the grand finale of activities marking the 2018 United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Mr Wakawa said that the arrested suspected traffickers included 213 males and 74 females.
“The command also seized within the period, 43,664.4 kilogrammes of various illicit drugs, with suspected cannabis sativa accounting for about 42,466.7 kilogrammes.
“Psychotropic substance seized was 1,197.7 kilogrammes while cocaine and heroine seized amounted to 0.0489 kilogrammes and 0.0308 kilogrammes respectively.
“Within the period, the command discovered and destroyed 36 suspected cannabis sativa farms measuring approximately 58 hectares.
“The command counseled 189 drug dependent persons and reintegrated them into the society, while 34 convictions of suspected traffickers were secured.
“From the statistics of drug seizures, the problems of illicit drugs must not be treated with levity.
“The seizures also called for celebration because of the colossal damage the drugs would have done to the society, if not intercepted,” he said.
Mr Wakawa said there was need for all stakeholders to continue to critically reappraise drug situation.
He noted that the state was confronted with a huge problem of cannabis cultivation, spreading over arable forests like wild fire.
“This is bad for a state that was famous for food and cash crops.
“The most worrisome aspect is the involvement of youths in drug abuse as the development has stolen peace and harmony in most families.
“It is pertinent for all to look inwards and identify areas that require an adjustment in the country’s drug control programmes.
“One of such areas is that highlighted by the theme which focuses on the role of parents listening to their children and youths,” Mr Wakawa said.