The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said that a total of 15 drug kingpins, out of 3,412 offenders that were successfully prosecuted and convicted in 2023, bagged 168 years of imprisonment collectively.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd), stated this on Wednesday while addressing commanders, officers, and men of the agency during an awards and commendations ceremony at its national headquarters in Abuja.
He said, “According to our statistics, we recorded 13,664 arrests leading to the seizure of 1,606,799.09 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs and 3,412 convictions with a total of 5,570 offenders charged to court in 2023. It’s indeed a year that at least 15 drug kingpins bagged 168 years of imprisonment collectively. That is a substantial improvement over our performance in 2022.
“Notably, in 2023, we also ramped up our enforcement action against cannabis farms and carried out at least seven successful major operations, leading to the discovery and destruction of over 206 hectares of cannabis plantations.”
Marwa further said that to create awareness about the dangers of substance abuse aimed at prevention and encourage those already in it to seek treatment, the agency intensified its War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy initiative nationwide.
He stated that “The frequency and intensity of our advocacy throughout the year improved considerably. Zonal and state commands have been very dedicated to propagating WADA advocacy. As a result, a total of 2,725 sensitization lectures and programmes were held in schools, worship centres, workplaces, and communities among others.
“A breakdown of the WADA lectures held in 2023 shows: 807 in Primary/Secondary Schools; 146 in Tertiary Institutions; 488 for out-of-school children; 264 in worship centres; 140 in military/paramilitary organisations; 90 in other workplaces, among others. Just as well, our commands and formations have coped with the increased workload of counselling activities leading to the counselling and rehabilitation of 10,904 drug users.”
Meanwhile, a total of 104 personnel and 13 commands that had outstanding performances in the 2nd half of 2023 were recognized and rewarded.