By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja – The FCT Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 49 suspected drug peddlers and seized 30 kilograms of psychotropic substance and hard drugs in August.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Mr Peter Adegbe, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Adegbe said other drugs that were seized included Tramadol, Codeine and large quantities of rubber solution (used for patching tyres).
“The operation called “Operation Shara which means “to sweep”, which aimed at addressing drug sales and uses in the FCT, was a follow up of what we did in 2018.
“The operation which was sponsored by the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, was targeted at various individuals who are into drug sales and usage in various strategic locations in the FCT.
“It involves NDLEA officers from FCT and Bauchi State command and we also called officers from Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to augment the operations.
“60 NDLEA officers and 20 civil defense corps were assigned to specific locations in FCT and they conducted surveillance during the day and strike any suspected area of drug peddlers.”
Adegbe said that the activities of drug peddlers in Zone 4 and Banex area of Abuja had seized completely, adding that they have extended their operation to Mararaba.
“The operations so far had birth great success and the result is encouraging. However, some of the suspected drug peddlers have been charged to court while some were counseled.
“Some of the arrested suspects were investigated and those who needed counseling were been referred. The command also helped in the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts in its facility,” he said.
The PRO said that the “Operation Shara” would continue until September.
He added that an appraisal would be done to decide on the continuity of the operation.
Adegbe said the effective and efficient response to drug problems required institutions of criminal justice, health and social services to work side by side in order to provide joint solutions.
He commended the Federal Government on the approval of recruitment of 5,000 personnel into the agency, adding that it would go a long way to improve efficiency.
“We do not run shift. Most times, we work 24 hours a week because we do not have enough strength but with the step taken by the federal government, we would be able to run shifts.
“If we have the manpower, we would not have introduced the NSCDC to join us in the operations. However, with the recruitment of 5,000 officers, it would help us to carry out our mandate.”
Adegbe, however, enjoined stakeholders in criminal justice system to enforce laws that would protect people from “violence and criminal exploitation emanating from illicit drug use and substance abuse”.
He called on residents and spirited individuals to make necessary complains for the safety and peace of the streets and the city at large.
He tasked parents and communities not to stigmatise victims of drug abuse but rehabilitate them to reduce the feeling of ostracism.