By Isaiah Eka, Uyo.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized 460.34 kilograms of illicit drugs in Akwa Ibom State in 2022 and arrested 348 suspects.
The NDLEA Commander in Ajwa Ibom, Mrs Obot Bassey, told newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday that those arrested were 302 males and 46 females.
The illicit drugs seized were 231.377 kilograms of Indian hemp, 2.611 kilograms of cocaine, 0.919 kilogram of heroin, 0.032 kilogram of Meth, 92.803 kilograms of Amphetamine and 133.196 kilograms of other psychotropic substances, she added.
Bassey said that the command also secured 58 convictions of drug dealers and users in 2022, while rehabilitating 15 persons and counseling 265 others.
She said that the command also destroyed 2.786 tonnes of seized drugs by burning them in public glare in 2022.
“Of spectacular notes were arrests and seizure of 90 kilograms of Amphetamine, with street value of N2.5 billion and 2.6 kilograms of cocaine.
“The drugs would have done a lot of damage to families, communities and to the state if they had not been seized,’’ she said.
Bassey said that Uyo Local Government Area (LGA) recorded the highest rate of drug abuse, out of the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom.
It was closely followed by Ikot Ekpene LGA and Itu LGA, she added.
Bassey, however, said that the NDLEA was in dire need of operational vehicles to effectively cover the 31 local government areas of the state; boats to patrol the waterways and residential barracks for the accommodation of personnel.
She appealed to multinational organisations, philanthropists and well-meaning individuals to join hands with the NDLEA to reduce drug abuse and trafficking to the barest minimum in the state.
“I am using this medium to tell Akwa Ibom people to look for substances that are not supposed to be consumed and keep the NDLEA posted on these substances.
“Residents should also report drug dealers and users to the NDLEA,’’ she said.
Bassey said the NDLEA was disturbed by the influx of a new drug, Fentanyl, into the Nigerian market, as it was 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, heroin and codeine.
She warned drug peddlers and dealers in Akwa Ibom to give up the illicit business or face the full wrath of the law.