Out of a total of 8,826 suspected drug traffickers, including 8,332 males and 494 females arrested in 2014, 2,054 offenders were convicted, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has said.
In a statement on Wednesday, the agency said that Kano State had the highest conviction rate with 182; followed by Kaduna, 151; and then Lagos, 125.
Illicit drugs seized in the year under review stood at 166,697.18 kilogrammes (kg) including Cannabis sativa, 158,852kg; Cocaine, 226.041kg; heroin, 56.449kg; methamphetamine, 119.2kg; amphetamine, 0.05grammes; ephedrine, 35.8kg; and psychotropic substances 7,407.44kg.
Suspected female drug traffickers apprehended in 2014 reduced by 25 as against the number arrested in 2013. Edo State had the highest female arrests with 56, Akwa Ibom 48, Delta 47, Anambra 41 and Rivers 32.
Ahmadu Giade, the NDLEA Chairman, said that the agency would soon launch a nationwide campaign tagged ‘Save the Girl from Drug Trafficking and Abuse’ to further reduce involvement of females in drug trafficking.
“The NDLEA is paying special attention to females because of the important role they play in the family and the society at large,” Mr. Giade said.
“The reduction in the number of females arrested in 2014 is encouraging and we hope to improve on this with a good number of drug abuse preventive programmes in the year.”
In comparison, in 2013, the NDLEA said it arrested 8,843 drug suspects comprising 8,324 males and 519 females.
Total drugs seized in the same year were 339,968.11kg – cannabis 205,373kg, psychotropic substances 134,280.38kg, cocaine 290.2kg and heroin 24.53kg. While cannabis farm land destroyed was 847.46 hectares containing 10,051,553.568kg.
In 2014, an unprecedented 4,529.15 hectares of cannabis farm land containing 53,719,342.32kg of cannabis plant were destroyed, according to the NDLEA.
Mr. Giade said that despite the numerous challenges the agency faced, its achievements were laudable.
“Narcotic investigations are cumbersome, protracted and capital intensive,” he said.
“If drug syndicates have global networks, we must be steps ahead of them. The Agency must embark on a nationwide anti-drug enlightenment campaign to highlight the consequences of illicit drugs especially the plight of some of our citizens who are awaiting execution abroad for drug trafficking.”
The NDLEA figures indicate a reduction in both arrests and seizures in 2014 as compared to 2013, an achievement Mr. Giade said was a reflection of the agency’s new strategic approach to drug control adopted.
“Our proactive measures led to the destruction of 53.7 million kilogrammes of cannabis in the farms. This represents an increase of 43.6 million kilogrammes over the 10 million kilogrammes destroyed at cannabis plantations in 2013.”
On the 2014 data table, the Sensitive Investigation Unit (SIU) made the highest seizure of 28,063kg. This was followed by Delta State command that seized 24,052.05kg. Edo State command occupied the third position with 21,179kg. Ondo and Oyo States had 18,908kg and 10,253kg respectively.
In the area of arrests, Katsina State led other commands with 609 suspected traffickers while Kano followed with 503. Bauchi had 471, Lagos 434 and FCT 425.
Within the year under review, 2,070 cases were charged to court. Seven cases were discharged and acquitted while nine cases were struck out.