PLATEAU State Governor, Simon Lalong, yesterday, vowed to support the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in order to reduce or totally eradicate illicit drug trafficking and consumption. Lalong stated this while delivering a speech at the NDLEA retreat in Jos titled ‘Repositioning the NDLEA for effective and efficient performance in Nigeria’. He said the establishment of the NDLEA in 1989 was a deliberate attempt by Nigeria to join the rest of the world in getting rid of narcotics and psychotropic substances. “The important role of the NDLEA is better appreciated when viewed in the light of the social consequences of allowing the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs in our country. Imagine a society full of able bodied men and women who exhibit the psychotropic impact of their consumption of illicit drugs in mental illness, traffic accidents, family disintegration, arson, suicide, ethnic and communal clashes and many other related consequences, what manner of a society would we have? ‘‘Any government that is determined to have a sane environment will not pay lip service to the extermination of illicit drug trafficking and consumption. Strengthening this mandate begins with strengthening the convictions and capacity of the top rank to effectively and efficiently drive the campaign through the enforcement structure of the agency. “For us in Plateau, we have sustained the declared war against Goskolo, an illicit alcoholic substance. The strategies that we have employed are drug abuse preventive education, arrest and prosecution, as well as counseling and rehabilitation through the ministry of women affairs and social welfare. Collaborations are being strengthened with civil society groups, community based organisations and nongovernmental organisations to sustain the campaign. “ I must commend the NDLEA for the successes recorded in the drug abuse war since inception, the reduction in illicit drug consumption and trafficking has no doubt shown that the agency is achieving its mandate. However, let me challenge it to ensure that as part of its preventative measures, it strengthens collaboration and cooperation with vital ministries, departments and agencies of government that will help the war to succeed.” Earlier, the Chairman/Chief Executive, NDLEA, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, said “no country is immune from the devastating effects of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
We all know that the world is still grappling with the problem of availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Our country used to produce only cannabis sativa, but today methamphetamine is locally produced, the questions we must ask at this submit among others include why is there a proliferation of new drugs and new substances for abuse? “I am not unmindful of the numerous challenges facing the agency ranging from poor funding, poor infrastructure, inadequate logistics to poor officers welfare. Let me assure you that I am determined to eliminate these cankerworms and steer the agency on the path of efficiency and effectiveness.
Efforts are currently at an advanced stage to source for funds to pay officers their accumulated allowances, regularise promotion exercises and relocate the national headquarters of the agency to the Federal Capital Territory. My vision is to create a platform for officers of the agency to be adequately trained, well knitted and highly motivated for excellent performance,” he added.