As part of efforts to prevent the inflow of illicit drugs through the seaports, the Chairman/CEO, National Drug Law a Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd), has asked for more support and cooperation from stakeholders in the country’s maritime sector.
He said the anti-narcotic agency cannot fight the drug scourge alone and needs the assistance of the industry players in order to succeed in the fight to rid the country of drug traffickers and abusers.
Marwa, who made the plea at the second edition of JournalNG’s Industry Town Hall Meeting tagged ‘Towards a Drug Free Port Environment’ held in Lagos, said the NDLEA has resolved to maintain a strong presence at the Ports.
This, the NDLEA boss said the monumental drug seizures and the series of engagements of stakeholders, ranged from Bonded Terminal Owners/Operators, Shipping Lines and Agencies and other critical stakeholders within the Maritime Sector.
Marwa, who was represented as chairman of the event by the Commander, NDLEA Apapa Port Command, Inalegwu Ameh, who delivered a paper titled “Evolving a Drug Free Port Environment: A Call for Concerted Efforts”.
Speaking, the Commander, NDLEA Apapa Port Command, Inalegwu Ameh said “the task of keeping the Ports drugs-free is the primary responsibility of the operators in the maritime industry.
“For this to happen, we must realise the fact that the economy and security of the nation rest heavily on the shoulders of the maritime industry, whereas the nexus between the economy, security and drugs is well documented.
“Stakeholders at the Ports must be able to resist the lure of lucre viz-a-viz the temptations of what illicit drug traffickers offer. No amount of money is compared with the sanctity of human life.
“Maritime operators need to elevate their level of collaboration and cooperation with NDLEA.
“The intelligent hints on the clandestine activities of these unscrupulous elements who depend on the movement of ships to ply their trade will go a long way in exposing and frustrating them. We must admit that NDLEA cannot do it alone, hence, our call for concerted efforts.
“Time was when we all raised our hands on our heads in lamenting our helplessness while our entire society is being over-run by these drug marauders.
“All hands must be on deck. We now have to adopt a ‘whole-society’ and a ‘joined-hands’ approach”, he said.
“For us to treasure the imperatives of concerted efforts, we must first of all appreciate the enormity or magnitude of the drug malady stirring us in the face”.
Meanwhile, Marwa noted that several arrests and seizures have been made aboard vessels laden with huge quantities of illicit drugs at the ports.
Between January and May 2022, a total of 3, 349.25 kilograms of assorted drugs have been seized in the Lagos inland waterways alone. This is in addition to the two commercial vessels that were seized in November 2021 in connection with illicit drugs importation, and the seizure of 74.119 kilograms (451, 807 tablets) of “jihadist drug” known as Captagon at Apapa Port.
“Apart from Cannabis sativa that is known to be cultivated in commercial quantities, the seizure of pharmaceutical opiates like Tramadol being exported from Nigeria points at something: how did these large quantities of drugs get into Nigeria?
“We can say with certainty that a huge portion of these drugs come into the Country through the waterways”.
According to the NDLEA chief, the drug use prevalence in Nigeria cuts across all ages, gender and regions, adding that a great danger threatens, especially the youths because of the drug scourge, which requires an urgent collaborative intervention.
The 2018 National Drug Use Survey revealed that 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years use psychoactive substances. That means one in seven persons had used a drug (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the past year. More worrisome is the finding that one in every four drug users in Nigeria is a woman.
This shows that a significant number of females, who are supposed to play key roles in their families and the society, are dependent on chemical substances. The findings further established that more women (2.5%) than men (2.3%) abuse cough syrup containing codeine.
He stated that women involvement in substance abuse has more implications than men, especially when the critical role of women in child nurturing and upbringing is considered.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has affirmed his administration’s focus in prioritising policies that will maximise the potentials of the youths in the State.
Fubara made this declaration yesterday at the State NYSC permanent orientation camp, Nonwa-Gbam Tai, in Tai Local Government Area during the swearing-in ceremony of 2024 Batch A Stream 1 corps members deployed to Rivers State.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press Unit, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Juliana Masi, yesterday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Samson Friday Dede, the governor commended the NYSC Scheme for the positive impacts it is making in the nation’s quest for sustained development.
“My administration will be unwavering and fully focused in supporting the youths in maximizing their potentials”, he said.
He assured the corps members of his administration’s commitment in supporting them to achieve the mandate of uniting and integrating to the nation.
The governor further admonished corps members to take full advantage of the camp programmes and activities to equip themselves to contribute to nation building.
Earlier, Coordinator, NYSC, Rivers State, Mr. George Mfongang, had urged the corps members to be in the forefront of the nation’s development by being hard working, disciplined and morally sound.
He commended them for being passionate and enthusiastic in imbibing the lessons of the orientation exercise.
The Coordinator thanked Governor Fubara for his unflinching commitment in ensuring the security and welfare of corps members in the State especially, the payment of State allowance to them.
A total of 1,585 Corps members made up of 819 males and 766 females took the oath of allegiance at the ceremony that was administered by Justice Ibiwengi Roseline Minakiri.
FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag
The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag price of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.
This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers , in Abuja, yesterday.
The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide.
They, however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.
Retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers, citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.
Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.
This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite. to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.
Umahi had, while calling for the meeting, expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development, adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration.
After the meeting, Umahi read out a communique in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.
These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. This according to the manufacturers were the primary reasons behind the price hike.
He also said the manufacturers which include Dangote Cement PLC, BUA Cement PLC, Larfarge Africa PLC and Cement Producers Association, expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.
Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
While reading the communique, Umahi said: “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers like: cost of gas; high import duty on spare parts; bad road network; high foreign exchange; and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.
“The government noted the challenges and reacted as follows: Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to seek some remedies from Mr. President on cost of gas and import duties.”
We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu
Thousands of people, on Monday, thronged the major streets of Ibadan in Oyo State, to protest the hardship in the country.
The protesters, who are mainly youths, kept saying they were not out to cause trouble, but to call the attention of all the tiers of governments to the unbearable hardship in the country.
Though they did not use any objects to block the roads, they converged on accesses leading to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Sango, Dugbe and Eleyele, thereby blocking vehicular traffic.
They displayed several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Give us good health, End bad governance, End food hike, Open border, End hardship, ‘Is this the renewed hope you promised?’
At intervals, organisers of the protest kept updating the security agents who kept vigilance to arrest anyone who caused problem or hijacked the protest for selfish ends.
During the protest, some schools and banks shut their gates.
The Tide learnt that the protest was convened through the social media.
One of the messages sent by the conveners read, “People should not pass through Mokola roundabout because there will be protest on Monday”.
The message advised that motorists should take alternative routes to their destinations.
A lady who refused to disclose her name, caught the attention of many people with a placard that read: ‘Sanitary pad now costs N4,000; we can’t be using cloth, Please, help us’. Nothing should happen to me. All I’m asking for is my legitimate earning and ease of life.’
Another woman, who identified herself as Mobolaji Inaolaji, one of the coordinators, said: “We want to tell our leaders that things are not right, they should make things easier for us. We are not here to cause violence, things are too costly and people are dying.
“It is our right to protest whether we got permit or not. We have told the security agents that they should arrest whoever causes problem. We are peaceful and law abiding. All we want is to make government know our pains. We will go through most parts of the city.”
Other protesters who were speaking with anger, said: “This problem is too much. Whoever wants to arrest me should come and do so. If we don’t die outside, we’ll die at home.”
After about an hour at Mokola, the protesters headed towards Sango and other parts of the city.
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