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Illicit drug consumption: NDLEA mulls urine test for truck drivers

Illicit drug consumption: NDLEA mulls urine test for truck drivers

Seizes 4,349kg of drugs on Lagos waterways in 6 months


Paul Ogbuokiri


The National drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says that to curb the high rate of consumption of illicit drugs and narcotics by truck drivers operating in the Nigerian ports, there would be the need to commence urine of the truck drivers and any of them found to have consumed drugs will not be allowed to drive into the terminals to pick up any consignments.

This came as the agency has disclosed that it has seized a total of 4,349.25 kilogrammes of assorted drugs in the Lagos waterways in the last six months.

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) NDLEA, Brig Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa gave the figure at a Town Hall Meeting o evolving drug free Port, organised by Journal Ng in Lagos.

The anti-drug agency boss who was represented at the meeting by Ameh Inalegwu, Commander, Apapa port, said the figure was in addition to the two commercial vessels that were seized in November, 2021 in connection with illicit drugs importation.

The seizure of 74.119 kilogrammes (451, 807 tablets) of “jihadist drug” known as Captagon at Apapa Port, held everybody spell bound.

He said: “Drug abuse, like the motor accident does not just happen. It is caused by a number of factors, chiefly: availability, affordability and accessibility.

“Incidentally, the Maritime Industry is at the heart of these components. Several arrests and seizures have been made aboard vessels laden with huge quantities of illicit drugs at the ports.

“Apart from Cannabis sativa that is known to be cultivated in commercial quantities, the seizure of pharmaceutical opiates like Tramadol being exported from Nigeria points at something: how did these large quantities of drugs get into Nigeria? We can say with certainty that a huge portion of these drugs come into the Country through the water ways.”

Earlier, he lamented the great danger threatening Nigeria especially the youths because of the drug scourge which according to him, requires collaborative intervention.

While citing a 2018 survey, he stated that drug prevalence in Nigeria cut across all ages. Marwa added that 14.3 million Nigerians between ages 15-64 years use psychoactive substances This, according to the survey, means one in seven persons had used a drug in the past year.

He therefore called on all hands to be on deck saying, “We now have to adopt a whole-society and a joined-hands approach.

“For us to treasure the imperatives of concerted efforts, we must first of all appreciate the enormity or magnitude of the drug malady stirring us in the face,” he submitted.

On curtailing the menace, he said, “The overarching objective of our renewed campaigns is to create a critical mass of resistance against drugs through massive awareness drive, institutional strengthening and empowerment of the vulnerable youth population.

“We must therefore set the machinery in motion to aggressively reverse the trend and to achieve this, we need to activate both demand and supply reduction measures. We must see drug control as a shared responsibility and every facet of the society must take ownership.

“The good news is that the drug supply reduction strategy that we initiated in the last one year is succeeding in crushing the drug supply chain thereby creating scarcity of the illicit substances and curtailing availability.

“NDLEA has equally resolved to maintain a strong presence at the Ports which explains the monumental drug seizures and the series of engagements of stakeholders, ranging from Bonded Terminal Owners/Operators, Shipping Lines and Agencies and other critical stakeholders within the Maritime Sector.

“The task of keeping the Ports drug-free is the primary responsibility of the operators in the Maritime Industry. For this to happen, we must realize the fact that the economy and security of the nation rest heavily on the shoulders of Maritime Industry, whereas the nexus between the economy, security and drugs is well documented,“ Stakeholders.

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