By Deborah Coker
Benin – The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo Command says it arrested 41 persons for allegedly trafficking in illicit drugs in the state in April.
Mr Peter Ogar, the Assistant Commander and Head, Operations and Intelligence of the Command to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Benin on Monday.
Ogar said that the suspects, including a distributor of codeine, were arrested for drug offences ranging from possession, peddling and consumption in various parts of the state.
According to him, the suspects include 33 males and eight females.
He said within the period under review, 449.2 Kilogrammes of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa and 18.64 Kilogrammes of suspected Psychotropic substance were seized.
Ogar also said that four farms where substance suspected to be cannabis sativa was being cultivated were also destroyed within the period.
The assistant commander said the command would leave no stone unturned in ridding the state of illicit drug activities.
He commended the Federal Government for banning codeine, adding that in Edo; the abuse of codeine and codeine based drugs by students in secondary and tertiary institutions was rapidly increasing.
Ogar expressed optimism that with the backing of the Federal Government, the agency would ensure that patent medicine dealers and the Pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria enforce total compliance.
“So in effect, NDLEA can now enforce and charge any person in custody of codeine accordingly in line with the laws of the agency.’’
The Federal Government has directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC to ban with immediate effect importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations.
Experts say codeine syrup used in treatment of cough, when abused, could lead to full-fledged addiction that is potentially deadly.
The Minister of Health, Pro. Isaac Adewole gave directive last Tuesday in Abuja.