NDLEA To Increase Drug Abuse Education, Treatment for Nigerian Seafarers

…As NAGAFF Commends Agency

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The National Druglaw Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called for increased education and treatment for seafarers on drug abuse and smuggling across West African waters.

This is even as the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has commended the NDLEA for manifesting magnificent capability and capacity to deal deadly blows on the menace of drug abuse and its attendant fallout in the Nigerian society.

The NDLEA noted that smuggling of drugs is possible through vessel without the
knowledge of the crew. It is also possible that port staff may be involved.

Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Col Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd) stated this on the commemoration of the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

Abdallah said the commemoration is a clarion call to all maritime stakeholders to support inter-agency cooperation, synergy, collaboration, sharing of intelligence and sharing of information to dismantle drug smuggling.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Better Knowledge for Better care”

He noted that drug trafficking through the sea has been a security problem for all countries of the region because it involves the movement of large
quantity of drugs. The trafficking of narcotic drugs by sea has virtually
become an industry comprised of many individual enterprises of varying size and organization. It is an attraction for major international
criminal organizations and terrorist.

The NDLEA boss said there are 200million illicit drug users worldwide and the number continues to grow every day. Around 190,000 people die due to illicit drugs every year. Drug Trafficking is a threat to human live, national development and security.

He appealed for the NDLEA to be strengthen and adequately funded to combat drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.

“Criminality in the Gulf of Guinea include maritime piracy, armed
robbery, trans-organized crime such as illegal fishing and associated
crime such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering,
illegal dumping of toxic waste and other sea based crimes. Since mid-
2000 West Africa has emerged a transit point for trafficking of cocaine from South America to Europe”

“The United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime estimated that $1.25 billion worth of cocaine passed
the region in 2010 alone. Recent drug trafficking as witnessed a massive movement of Cannabis Sativa from Ghana to Nigerian waters at an alarming rate”

“Over 90% of goods are transported globally by sea and constantly
changing trading patterns between emerging and developing countries
create new opportunities to shift goods. Drugs are sometimes transported via indirect routes as main routes become better policed; traffickers select countries with weak enforcement or corruptible
officers”

“Drugs are usually concealed in bulk cargoes, containers, cargo of cars, freight vehicles, trailers or coaches, ship hull and speed boats. Smuggling of drugs is possible through vessel without the knowledge of the crew. It is also possible that port staff may be
involved”

Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam said that prior to the establishment of the NDLEA, drug offenders go about their illicit activities with confidence, and without fear of apprehension. But now, he said drug offenders hide to perpetrate their nefarious activities.

“The long arm of the NDLEA is now fishing out drug offenders anywhere in the country. With the long list of arrests and seizures, there seems to be no hiding place for drug offenders anywhere in the country anymore. More importantly, Nigeria has exited the “World black book of drug trafficking nations”. Our country is no more playing the role of “transit port for drugs”

Aniebonam said the NDLEA in the past 30 years has been able to build a bridge of collaboration with countries of the world and this has led to exchange of intelligence, resulting in the smashing of cartels and rings, with the resultant reduction in the trafficking of illicit drugs into, within and out of Nigeria.

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