The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Imo has seized illicit drugs, weighing about 959.677 kilogrammes, and arrested 165 suspected drug peddlers, comprising 145 males and 20 females, this year.
The NDLEA Commander in Imo, Mr Nse Inam, disclosed this at a news conference in Owerri on Tuesday.
Inam listed the seized drugs as cannabis, cocaine, tramadol and methamphetamine, among others, adding that 24 accused persons had been prosecuted, while several cases were still pending before the Federal High Court, Owerri.
He said that in spite of the lockdown, orchestrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 3,000 persons attended various public enlightenment programmes organised by the NDLEA in secondary schools, churches and civic centres.
Inam also said that the command counselled 97 drug users and successfully rehabilitated three persons, while two others were currently undergoing rehabilitation.
He urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children and wards because youths formed a greater percentage of illicit drug users in the state.
He also called on residents of the state to remain conscious of activities in their environment and report suspected peddlers to the agency.
“We thank the governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, for supporting the activities of the NDLEA in Imo and we also thank our sister agencies, the press and Imo residents, in general, for working with us for best results.
“The task of making our communities drug free calls for collective action because our destiny as a people, as far as the problem of drugs is concerned, is in our hands,” he said.
He however, regretted that the command lost one of its personnel in the line of duty, while two others were seriously wounded in the year under review.
Also speaking, Mr Raji Kayode, the NDLEA Deputy Commander (Operations and Logistics), said that illicit drug use and trafficking had seriously affected many homes.
He charged journalists to shape public opinion, while promoting the qualities of teamwork, trust, collaboration and self-sacrifice in the society.
Also, Mr Lamua Shehu, the Public Relations Officer of the command, urged youths to desist from admiring the “ostentatious lifestyle” of drug peddlers.
He urged the youth to condemn such lifestyles, rather than allowing the negative ways of life to influence their sensibilities, saying that only responsible youths would grow into responsible leaders in future.