The Plateau Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Tuesday publicly destroyed 16,697.639 kilogrammes of hard drugs seized in the state.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the agency, retired Col. Muhammad Abdallah, said the destroyed illicit drugs were seized in the last four years in the state.
Abdallah, who decried the prevalence of hard drugs in the state, said the public destruction of the exhibits was a triumph of good over evil.
He said the destroyed drugs included Cannabis Sativa, Psychotropic substances and Cocaine, adding that the destruction underscored the collective opposition by populace to nefarious activities
“Today, we are gathered to publicly destroy 16, 697.639 kilogrammes of Illicit substances seized by our command here in Plateau.
“I consider this quantity of drugs to be frightening, compared to the population of the state and this leaves us without doubt that there is high demand for drugs in the state.
“With the number we are destroying today, the agency has destroyed over 167, 436.69 kilograms of drugs from January to date in the country
“This public destruction to us is the triumph of good over evil and it underscores our collective opposition to nefarious activities of a few who are determined to ruin the lives of others and polluting our communities,”he said.
The chairman, who decried the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs such as cough syrup, codeine and tramadol, said the agency had redoubled it efforts at curbing the consumption of hard drugs in the state and the country.
He called on the Plateau Government to continue to support the command in the state with a view to ending the scourge that had ravaged many communties.
“Recent research shows that illicit drugs use in Nigeria has reached a pandemic proportion. It is worrisome to know that the menace has permeated every facet of the society.
“So, we need to double our efforts for very obvious reason. As an agency, we shall not rest on our oars to arrest the ugly situation,”he said.
Earlier, the NDLEA Commander in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Braji, said the destroyed substances were seized in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Braji said the agency had also destroyed 40.2 acres of plantation in the state, with an estimated 117, 347 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa planted on them within the same period.
“In the period under review, we have arrested 1,530 suspects and convicted 423.
“We have some pending cases in court awaiting trial and prosecution,” he said.
Conducting the public destruction, Gov. Simon Lalong promised to support NDLEA and other security agencies to check peddling and consumption of illicit drugs in the state.
Lalong, who attributed the insecurity in the state and other parts of country to drug abuse, warned that peddlers and consumers of hard drugs, when arrested would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Today, many of the security challenges that we are confronted with such as kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, cult activities, rape and other associated problems such as road accident are linked to consumption of Illicit drugs.
“This is why my administration is committed to ensuring that the efforts of NDLEA are strengthened toward frustrating and halting the activities of drug peddlers in the state.
“With the collaboration of all security agencies and the citizens of the state, we have worked assiduously to reduce to the barest level the recurring drug induced and other drivers of criminality and insecurity in the state.
“I wish to warn all miscreants and criminal elements that under my watch, Plateau shall use the resources and instruments available to decisively deal with anyone found threatening the peace of our people,” he said.
The governor said that the fight against illicit drugs and substances was a collective one, adding that all critical stakeholders must play their roles in order to end the menace.
“Like I have always maintained, traditional, religious and community leaders have a very crucial role to play in ensuring the security of lives and property of the people.
“I, therefore, expect them to rise to the occasion by exposing criminal elements within their communities to assist government to end this scourge and maintain peace,” he said.