Uyo — The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Akwa Ibom State Command, has identified 24 public schools in the state where hard drugs including cocaine, Indian hemp and heroin are sold.
The state Commander of the NDLEA, Mrs. Josephine Obi, who disclosed this during an interview with THISDAY, said the Command yesterday officially protested to the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs.Eunice Thomas, over the development.
She said the NDLEA officials had on many occasions raided the schools and arrested some of the culprits who often went to the school in the evening under the pretext of going to play or watch local football match.
"We have gone to these schools to effect arrest on many occasions. Some of the students are being used by the dealers to assist in selling the drugs on commission basis so we can talk authoritatively that these schools identified are endemic with drugs," she said.
With the use of public schools, both primary and secondary schools, to market the hard drugs, she expressed fear that it was likely to threaten performance of students under the free and compulsory education of the state government, hence the report written by the NDLEA to the Commissioner for Education to take urgent action to stop it.
Regrettably, the state NDLEA boss hinted that two weeks ago, the command uncovered hard drug bar just behind the country home of the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, in Ukana, Essien Udium Local Government Area of the state where about 200 persons were seen dealing on the drugs at ease.
Decrying involvement of disabled persons including women in the illegal business, the state commander said during the raid of the hard drug bar in Ukana, a disabled person who attempted to escape in a wheel barrow with his guard was arrested with two bags of Indian hemp and some bottles containing local gin mixed with drugs.
Giving an overview of the activities of the command, Obi disclosed that 44 drug suspects were presently in the custody of the command either undergoing investigations or awaiting prosecution.
A breakdown of the figure shows that 21 suspects are in custody at the state command, 13 suspects awaiting trial in Oron, five each in Eket and Ikot Ekpene area commands.
Worried by the high rate of drugs in the society, she said the command had been organising public enlightenment and counselling sessions on the effects of hard drugs in schools and other public places but regretted that funding was a challenge.