The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, Edo State Command has concluded plans to construct a modern cottage rehabilitation centre in Benin in an effort to mitigate the problem of drug dependency among youths in the state.
The State Commander of the NDLEA, Wakawa Buba, who made the disclosure while addressing journalists in Benin, Tuesday, said no fewer than 253 drug traffickers were arrested by operatives of the Command in 2017 and 31 drug traffickers convicted across the state in the period under review.
The Commander lamented that the problem of drug abuse in the state has assumed a worrisome dimension, adding that 168 drug-dependent youths were counselled and rehabilitated during the year.
He further disclosed that illicit drugs weighing 45,341.04 kilogrammes were also seized, while farms of cannabis sativa measuring 49.06 hectares were destroyed across the state.
“A total of 253 suspected traffickers were arrested by the Command in 2017. This comprises 190 males and 63 females. 31 drug dealers were convicted while about 136 cases were pending at the Federal High Court, Benin,” he said.
He said as a result of the Command’s zero tolerance for drug trafficking, drug traffickers arrested in 2017 reduced by 65 when compared to the 318 arrested in 2016 as against 265 in 2017.
The NDLEA boss added that drug seizure was also reduced by 13,791 kilogrames.
While lamenting the widespread drug abuse among youths, especially school age children, Wakawa said that apart from dropping out of school and drug-induced illnesses, most criminal acts in the state are perpetrated under the influence of drug.
The Commander identified inadequate logistics and funding as the major problems facing the Command, saying that it is working very hard to reduce drug trafficking to the barest minimum in the state.