Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, says the NDLEA has intercepted and arrested several drug dealers who were on a mission to deliver shipments of illicit substances to bandits in their hideouts.
He said this in Abuja yesterday during the 40th Olumide Memorial Lecture organised by Nigerian Institution of Surveyors.
He said camps of insurgents and bandits cleared by troops were littered with illicit drugs, ranging from cannabis to pharmaceutical opioids and other controlled drugs like pentazocine.
Maruwa said bandits and Boko Haram insurgents arrested by security agents exhibited withdrawal syndrome days after their arrest and some of them admitted they took it during interrogation.
“We’ve had testimonies from rescued hostages who described how their abductors abused illicit substances. Some of us will also remember that one of the fugitives recaptured by NDLEA operatives after escaping from the Kuje Correctional facility was caught with rolls of cannabis, just three days after the jailbreak.”
Marwa described the much touted $103.9BN global cannabis market As an illusion.
He said Nigeria already had 10.6 million cannabis users, the highest in the world since there was no need legalising its cultivation and use.
He said: “Many don’t always get the significance of this figure until we humanise it further by saying the population of people who abuse cannabis in this country is more than the entire population of Portugal, for example, or the United Arab Emirates.
“The proliferation and abuse of illicit substances have many ramifications, not least a negative effect on national development. “Having over 35 million people suffering from drug use disorder has a dire implication for the national development of countries, especially a third world country like Nigeria.
“What’s most alarming, however, is the growing illusion propagated by some activists and politicians that our country can achieve some economic growth by cashing in on the global cannabis market which is projected to be worth $103.9bn by 2024.
“In recent years, they’ve canvassed for the legalization of the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa as the magic bullet for Nigeria’s economic growth. Their argument references some western countries that have decriminalised the use of cannabis or cannabis derivatives and other countries that are making economic gains from the cultivation and exportation of cannabis. In the end, the crux of their argument is narco-dollar revenue for the country.
“Unfortunately, they often fail to also speak the truth about the drug problems those countries have on their hands as well as the human and material costs of the problems.”