Abia govt to partner NDLEA in fight against illicit drugs

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By Yolamchi Ukaga, Aba

Abia State government, through its Ministry of Homeland Security, will partner the state’s command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the fight against the use of illicit drugs in the state, says Mr. Dan Okoli, Commissioner for Homeland Security, Abia State.

Okoli, who was on an official visit to NDLEA Abia Command, Monday, stated that synergy with the agency would help in reducing the use of illegal drugs in the state. He linked most violent crimes to hard drugs, noting that the agency’s operations were at the heart of reducing crimes in Abia, hence, the need to support them to the fullest.

In his words, “You find out that crimes are committed when the perpetrators are under the influence of hard drugs; so, that is the root of crime and if you attack crime at its root, it will be easier to uproot and eradicate.

“That is why I am interested in the NDLEA and we are going to do things to the best of our ability to assist NDLEA reduce drug abuse to the barest minimum in Abia State.

“Supporting reduction of drug abuse in Abia will make it easier for me, my ministry and other security agencies in the state to curb crime. So, we are going to collaborate with them and synergise with other security agencies to reduce crime in Abia.

“We will also monitor other security agencies that we collaborate with, to reduce compromise, because, where you put your resources, you also look in there”.

The commissioner also promised that his ministry would help the agency to fish out bad eggs among them, who frustrate their plans to weed out criminals from Abia, stressing that the state would not be the same again.

He praised the NDLEA for the arrest of 26 drug suspects at the notorious “Milverton York” in Aba, stressing that he received information detailing the evils going on there, which he passed on to the NDLEA, resulting in the timely arrest of the drug peddlers.

Okoli explained that advocacy is part of his ministry’s mandate, stressing that they have a programme intended to sensitise community leaders, transport unions and vigilante groups on security issues. He also promised to work with security agencies to connect with lawmakers in the state and at federal levels to review punishment of drug offenders and other criminals, in order to deter them from continuing their practice.

Mr. Bamidele Akingbade, Commander, Abia State Command of NDLEA, thanked the commissioner for his visit to discuss issues that would enhance security in the state, from drug abuse and trafficking perspective.

Akingbade noted that Abia has a high preponderance of hard drugs, noting that the NDLEA has been doing its best, but called for support from the state government and residents to overcome the agency’s handicaps, such as lack of vehicles. He explained that the 26 suspects arrested by his agency were part of the agency’s Christmas and New Year efforts to ensure that no drug dealer is allowed a field day in the state.

The commander also urged the state to support his agency’s drive to ensure that laws are reviewed and the legal bench sensitised, to ensure adequate punishment for drug dealers, not minding the quantity they carry, for deterrence.

Some of the drugs recovered from the suspects by NDLEA include, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, mixture of marijuana and hot drinks (Monkey tail), packets of tramadol and cocaine hidden and packaged in clothe buttons.

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