The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, between 2012 and 2015, arrested 34,499 persons in connection with drug related offences across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, according to an official report.
In the report obtained by the Economic Confidential in Abuja, Kano State in the north-west geo-political zone has the highest cases of drug-related offences within the period under review, just as the zone is also number one among the six geopolitical zones in the country with 8,939 cases.
Katsina State comes second with 2,173 cases of arrests by the NDLEA, while Plateau and Ekiti states were third and fourth respectively with 1,342 and 1,088.
Findings by Economic Confidential reveal that in 2012 alone, 8,052 cases were recorded by the agency, 8,843 in 2013, 8,826 in 2014 and 8,778 in 2015.
After then north-west, south-west came second with 6,999 cases, north-central came third with 5,574 cases, while the fourth position was grabbed by the south-south geopolitical zone with 5,545 cases.
The south-east and north-east geopolitical zones however had lesser cases and arrests with 4,230 and 3,212 respectively. The north-east geopolitical zone with years of terrorist attacks and insurgency is the least with cases of drug-related offences.
A careful analysis of the report indicates that of the 34,499 cases of arrests across the country, over 32,000 cases involve men, while a little over 2,000 involved women.
Also in the last four years, the quantity of narcotic drugs seized by the agency via the various state and area commands was 1,578,723. Of this number, 233,376 were for 2012; 344,985 for 2013; 165,652 was the number for 2014 while the figure for 2015 was 834,709.
More findings by Economic Confidential reveal that NDLEA secured a total number of convictions for drug-related offences put at 7,317 within the period under review. Of this number, 1,738 convictions were secured in 2012, 1,865 for 2013, 2,054 for 2014 while 1,660 convictions were secured for the year 2015.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Muhammad Abdallah, has assured members of the public of strict narcotic screening at the Kaduna airport. This, according to him, will help in preventing illicit movement of narcotic drugs by drug cartels.
Mr. Abdallah made the pledge following the interception of two suspected drug traffickers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja few hours to its closure with 2.150kg of heroin from Tanzania and 386 grammes of cocaine to Cambodia.
Preliminary investigation revealed that both suspects had planned to capitalise on the temporary relocation to Kaduna airport in moving narcotics at the Abuja airport, but the NDLEA promptly nipped the plan in the bud. The suspects are currently under observation pending their arraignment in court.
The NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Hamisu Lawan, said that both suspects tested positive for narcotic ingestion during routine screening.
“Two suspected drug traffickers, Odogwu Augustine Ike, 57, caught with one hundred and ten (110) wraps of heroin weighing 2.150kg from Tanzania on an Ethiopian airline flight and Lekwauwa Mark Otaka, 53, found to have inserted seven wraps of cocaine weighing 386 grammes into his anus on an Egypt airline flight to Cambodia have been arrested. Both suspects are currently under investigation,” he said.