This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Drug Trafficking Funds Terrorism in Nigeria

Significant part of the funding of terrorism in Nigeria and in other parts of the world come from money earned from drug trafficking and if the illicit movement of drugs is not urgently curtailed, terrorists would have enormous resources at their disposal to acquire the most sophisticated weapons to kill more innocent people.

This discomforting fact was disclosed on Monday by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abeokuta at the media round table organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), saying that in addition to funding terrorism, drugs are responsible for other crimes, including armed robbery, rape and kidnapping.

In a paper titled, The Role of NDLEA in Drug Control in Nigeria, the head of public affairs unit of NDLEA, Mitchell Ofoyeju, also disclosed that the agency apprehended over 39, 364 suspected drug traffickers between 2009 and 2013.

Ofoyeju said the agency has not relented in the drug war despite huge funding and logistics and legal bottlenecks it has been grappling with, adding that the suspects consists of 36,902 males and 2,462 females.

The NDLEA has in the period under review won the conviction of 8,081 drug offenders.

"Between 2009 and 2013, the NDLEA has apprehended a total of 39,364 suspected drug traffickers. This consists of 36,902 males and 2,462 females. It has also won the conviction of 8,081 drug offenders.

Total weight of drugs seized by the NDLEA in the last five years is 1,062,982.51kg. The breakdown is as follows, cannabis 915,377.34kg, psychotropic substances 145,091.824, cocaine 1,931.383kg and heroin 582.102kg," Ofoyeju said.

He said NDLEA carries out surveillance so as to trace cannabis plantations in forests across the country, an exercise he described as very tedious.

"This is because officers trek for long hours to get to the farmlands. In the past three years, the NDLEA has destroyed 3,169.3 hectares of cannabis plantations in the country," he said.

According to him, illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse constitute a serious threat to societal peace, growth and development.

"Illicit proceeds derived from drug trafficking can be diverted to finance terrorist activities or used to fund campaign of drug barons and their cohorts. Laundered funds affect the economy because they are illegal. Illicit drugs also influence criminal acts like murder, armed robbery and rape among others. Drug abuse accounts for a large number of untimely deaths across the world," he said.

Ofoyeju said there is no country that is free from the negative effects of narcotics, remarking that this reality places a huge responsibility on governments, organisations and individuals.

"Experts have advocated the policy of collective responsibility as one of the effective strategies of addressing the challenge of illicit drugs in the world. I agree with the submission because with collaboration among stakeholders, the problem of drug trafficking and abuse will be drastically reduced and ultimately eradicated," remarked.

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