NDLEA arrests 31,675 drug offenders in 29 months — Marwa

The Chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, on Monday, in Abuja, revealed that the agency arrested 31,675 drug offenders and seized 6,252 tonnes of illicit drugs nationwide in the last two and half years.

He said 5,147 of those arrested have earned jail terms, including 35 barons.

“In the past 29 months, 31,675 drug offenders have been brought to book, among them 35 barons, and so far, 5,147 have earned jail terms, with over 6,252 tonnes of illicit drugs seized,” Marwa said in his opening address at the national conference to mark this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, at the State House, Abuja.

The NDLEA chief said some of the prosecuted offenders have forfeited their ill-gotten wealth to the government.

Marwa described these as part of efforts to rid the country of illicit drugs and the attendant consequences of drug abuse on youth.

“This is even as we continue to prioritise prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, ensuring that those affected by drugs are given the necessary support and care they need to rebuild their lives,” he added.

Marwa also revealed that the NDLEA commissioned a Drug Abuse Call Centre with a 24/7 toll-free helpline, 0800 1020 3040, to attend to individuals with drug challenges and their families.

“The centre is manned by a team of professionals, including psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, mental health specialists, and psychiatry doctors, who provide support to people who use drugs and their family members, without the fear of being judged or stigmatised, to facilitate recovery and manage social and emotional problems, thereby improving their quality of life”, he said.

Aside from the call centre, the NDLEA has 34 counselling and rehabilitation centres across its commands, the anti-drug helmsman disclosed.

The facilities, he said, offer psychosocial interventions and reintegration for drug users.

On future efforts, he revealed that the agency, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, is in the process of implementing the Harm Reduction interventions of the Needle and Syringe programme and medication-assisted treatment for opioid users.

The theme for the 2023 commemoration is People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention.

Present are President Bola Tinubu, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Oliver Stolpe; Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu; Solicitor-General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba; representative of the Chairman of MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro and Former Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo.