Anti-Drug Day: Nigeria’s drug abuse, trafficking predicament demands all hands on deck


Trafficking of drugs and its abuse have continued to assume disturbing turn as the deep reflections of the profile of the phenomena are growing complementarily with expansive wings. The profile of clampdown on drug traffickers over time has shown abounding reflections in arrests and seizures. Arrest of suspects and seizures have continued to assume alarming dimension. However, the question of whether the arrest and seizures have translated to cutting down the tide of the phenomenon has been a major issue.

On the records of deep reflections of the strength of arrests and seizures, the Apapa Special Area Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) disclosed last week that it had recorded huge value seizures of illicit drugs worth N6billion in one week in Apapa area of Lagos state. The seizure which included 1,518kgs of Tafrodol brand of Tramadol (120grms) and Tramadol (225mg & 250mg) weighing 3,553 kilograms, according to the Area Commander, Mr Ameh Inalegwu, was a demonstration of the resolve of the Command to bring down non-cooperating entity within the maritime space within the command’s jurisdiction. Inalegwu who made the disclosure at a press briefing to flag off the commemoration of the 2022 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking at the Apapa Command Headquarters, ENL Terminal, Wharf, Lagos, said additional seizures of 14,0800 kilograms of Cough Syrup with Codeine was made in January 2022. Furthermore, another 40.25 Kilograms of the same Cough syrup with Codeine was seized in February and 12 kilograms of another Cough Syrup with Codeine in March, while 350 grams of Cocaine and 150 grams of Heroin were also recovered in March 2022. In summary, the command, according to him, recorded a total seizure of 19,703.25kg of assorted illicit drugs between January and June 2022. He mentioned that the command would embark on some activities that would increase awareness and knowledge of the potential health, social and legal consequences of illicit drug use and provide accurate information on illicit drug habituation.

He was quoted, “June 26 of every year has been designated by the United Nations to commemorate the drug day and all segments of society are urged to adopt actions that sensitise their immediate communities aimed at achieving a World free of Drug use and trafficking. The theme for this year’s commemoration ‘Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises’ is not only as topical, as it is thought provoking but consistent with the spirit and letter of the War against Drug Abuse (WADA) which is the theoretical framework of the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd.) The theme urges us to critically interrogate the mechanisms for mitigating the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs if we must guaranty sound health and favourable human conditions in our communities. Working in alignment with the initiative of the National Headquarters of the Agency, this Command will in the next seven days be reaching out to all categories within the Port and the host communities of Apapa, Ijora and Amuwo-Odofin where the maritime operations are concentrated.”

“We are not unmindful of the status of the Sea Port as the ‘gate way’ and the almost limitless opportunities it offers unscrupulous maritime operators to ship in drugs in a volume that far outstrips what can be smuggled in through land or air transportation. Hence, making the Port impregnable is a task that must be done. And by doing so, we need to mobilize all and sundry using the “whole society” and “joined hand” approach. The commemoration of the Anti-Drug Day will no doubt help to consolidate the gains of the stakeholder engagements that the Command has embarked upon in the last two months.”

Challenges of health hazards, insecurity, and criminalities have continued to sour high with the prevalence of substance abuse and hard drug trafficking. The impacts have, in no small measure, been stormy for the Country.

Multifaceted approach to clampdown on drug trafficking and its abuse is a necessity that must be put into check with critical reflections essential to build synergistic coordination to establish a firm architecture of resistance against hard drugs, its trafficking and abuse. It has become glaring that a one-off straight-cut operation of the use of force has largely shown at its best, weaknesses which have not brought desolation to the menace of the sharp practices. It would only appear that against dwindling profile of the phenomena, increasing arrests and seizures have only continued to grow in number.

That Nigeria is faced with critical problem of drug abuse and its associated sharp practice of trafficking is much beyond the scope of limitations. The commemoration of the anti-drug day is certainly coloured with the subject of the prevalence of drug trafficking and abuse of substances. The effects of same, particularly with linkage to criminalities, have taken hold of negativity in Nigeria.

As the Country suffers the scourge of insecurity and crime explosion, with their associated strings of disturbances, it is pertinent that all institutions wake up to the responsive demand to call the society back to order, from the dangers that the myriads of sprouting inconveniences of hard drug related activities pose. This is essential to protect the Country from the prevailing troubles facing her, which if left unchecked, have the tendencies to escalate beyond the limit of control. The government, a key critical societal institution, has a leading role repose in it to play. This is, however, not to say that all demands lie on the government, as other institutions as education, religious, social, cultural, among other forms of local groups have critical roles to play.

Nonetheless, the demands reposed on the government, dictate it to galvanise and coordinate efforts towards the course with harmonious patterns of concerted measures to sanitise the society from the piercing strings of the negative sydrome. Such measures demand complementary synergy to permeate the psychological disposition of the masses to raise resistance against abuse of substance and trafficking of hard drugs.