About 17,000 kilogrammes of illicit drugs were seized in Borno State with 544 persons arrested for drug offenses by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The Borno State Commandant of the NDLEA, Mr. Joseph Icha gave this figure to journalists while highlighting the achievements of the Command in the previous year.
Icho, who specifically stated that 16,904.3 kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs were seized, noted that of the 544 suspects arrested, 537 are males, while seven others are females.
He revealed that 44 seizures were made without the arrest of the suspects as they had already fled the scene of the incidents before the officers could comb them with the drugs.
Icho listed variety of the seized drugs to include cannabis sativa, variety of psychotropic substances, cocaine and heroin.
He said nine different types and models of cars and one Urban mini bus were seized from drug peddlers, adding that the command secured three interim forfeitures of three of the vehicles.
The Commandant said the Command is also processing an interim forfeiture of three bedroom flat and two room boy’s quarters used by suspected drug dealers to stockpile over 10,500 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa.
He said: “We also secured interim forfeiture for N1.95 million within the period under review. A total of 397 offenders went through counselling by interim intervention while 14 others went through residential counselling.” Icha said.
The Commandant said more worrisome is the alarming rate of drug abuse in some of the internally displaced persons ( IDPs ) camps, adding that since the Agency don’t conduct raids in the camps in order not to compound the situation of the displaced persons, a surveillance is usually mounted in the camps in collaboration with the security agencies there to track down suppliers of illicit drugs to there.
He however, said despite the successes recorded, the Command is facing some challenges such as poor infrastructure , logistics challenges, lack of vehicles for patrol and operational funding.
He said: “With the security challenges in Borno, indeed Northeast and considering the quantity of drugs and seizures, there is need for more funding to the Command. We have already set a record that we need to improve upon. At no time has Borno recorded seizure of over 16,000 kilogrammes of variety of illicit drugs if not now. For us to maintain and sustain this record, we need government attention both from state and federal government.
” Most of our vehicles previously at the liberated communities have been burnt by the Boko Haram terrorists, including our speed boat at Baga. So we need more vehicles to patrol around,” Mr Icha said.
The Command had during in August last year conducted a public destruction of illicit drugs exhibits weighing about 19,234.58 kilogrammes comprising cocaine, heroin, tramadol, cannabis sativa among others.