The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has arrested a total of 17,647 drug offenders and 10 barons in the past 17 months with over 2,369 convicted and jailed.
Also, more than 11,000 drug users were counselled and treated within the same period.
NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd.), disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Monday, said the briefing was to kickstart activities to mark this year’s UN day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking under the theme: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises”.
The statement quoted Marwa as saying, “For us at the Agency, we are abreast of time and trends as shown by the priority accorded treatment and care. In 2021, about 8,000 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated, in most cases through brief interventions. We continued the effort in the first five months of 2022, whereby an additional 3,523 were also counselled and treated in NDLEA facilities.
“Simultaneously, we have continued to shut the tap of illicit flow of drugs with the arrest of over 17,647 offenders including 10 drug barons between January 2021 and May 2022; more than 2,369 convicted and jailed within the same period while 154,667.339kg drugs have been seized in the first five months of this year alone”.
The NDLEA boss said changing dynamics have forced a paradigm shift that encompasses a balanced approach to tackling the drug problem in the country.
“That has brought to the fore the imperative of looking at the drug problem through the lens of public health and also tackling such as a broader social problem rather than through the conventional, narrow, criminal matter approach.
“It has, therefore, also become prudent to initiate mechanisms and measures that are proactively extenuating. In our case, the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, launched last November, has incorporated components that tend to the health concerns of drug abuse. Some of the activities lined up for this week are reflective of the realignments in our approach to the illicit substance problem”, he stated.
Marwa said the Agency’s Drug Demand Reduction Department has been galvanised and working non-stop to ensure that the health aspect of the drug abuse calculus is getting adequate attention, adding that a number of other measures are being taken to strengthen the process.
According to him, “The Agency’s policy of Drug Integrity Test is predicated on getting help to drug users suffering in silence because they cannot seek the needed health treatment due to social stigma and discrimination. This is why in a short while from now, we’ll be unveiling the NDLEA Call Centre that will be manned by professionals and experts in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and more to offer help to drug users who will make use of our toll-free lines to seek counselling 24/7. This will also enable those afraid of stigmitisation to be able to seek help without necessarily being seen or identified by anyone.
Lagos Orders Closure Of Ladipo Spareparts Market
The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, has ordered immediate closure of Ladipo Market, Mushin, for several environmental offences ranging from reckless waste disposal, unhygienic premises, and non-payment of waste bills, among others.
Wahab said that the market would remain closed until the mandatory conditions of redress were met by traders and market stakeholders, adding that it was part of ongoing efforts at instilling compliance in markets around the state.
Wahab, while speaking on the development, underscored the critical importance of environmental hygiene in markets.
He said: “It is imperative that markets in the state adhere strictly to environmental laws and regulations put in place for the well-being of residents.
“The closure of Ladipo Market serves as a stern reminder that no entity, regardless of its size or influence, is above the law.”
He stated that the state government was fully committed to collaborating with market stakeholders, to facilitate necessary adjustments and improvements, to enable them meet required environmental standards, adding that the market would not be reopened for business until set standards were met.
The commissioner said, “Ladipo Market, a prominent hub for automotive spare parts and related services, has been a focal point for environmental concerns due to various activities that contravene established regulations. LAWMA’s intervention is a significant step towards rectifying these issues and bringing the market to compliance.”
In his reaction, the Managing Director/CEO of LAWMA, Dr. MuyiwaGbadegesin, said that the closure was expected to allow for a thorough assessment of the environmental impact of the market’s activities and the implementation of necessary remedial measures, serving as a clear signal that LAWMA would not hesitate to take decisive actions, where and when environmental laws were flouted.
“As Lagos State continues to grow and develop, it is imperative that economic activities are conducted in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally responsible.”
“LAWMA’s recent actions demonstrate the authority’s commitment to this cause. The offensive against environmental infractions will continue till sanity is restored in our markets, while the next stop will be illegal markets,” he stressed.
The closure of Ladipo Market follows a similar action taken against Oyingbo, Alayabiagba, Oke-odo markets, and some sections of Tejuosho Market, for serial infractions.
The decision to shut down those markets underscored the state government’s unwavering commitment to the restoration of environmental sanity in the state.
Tinubu, Sultan Beg NLC, TUC To Shelve Strike
President Bola Tinubu and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, have appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned strike over the removal of fuel subsidy.
The organised labour had fixed Tuesday, October 3, for the commencement of an indefinite strike over fuel subsidy removal.
However, speaking during the public lecture and special Juma’at prayer to mark the 63rd independence anniversary of the country at the National Mosque, Abuja, on Friday, Tinubu appealed to the workers not to embark on the strike.
Represented by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau, the President reiterated the commitment of his administration to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
This was contained in a statement by the media aide to the Deputy Senate President, Ismail Mudashir.
The statement said, “The Sultan has talked about the issue of strike by the NLC. I also call, on behalf of His Excellency, the President, and the entire government, on the labour leaders to shelve the strike.
“Let’s dialogue, let’s sit together, let’s understand ourselves, and let’s look at the prevailing situation in the country. How do we meet this country, the challenges ahead and the current challenges? It is through dialogue that we can solve our problems collectively.”
While stating that the government was new and working hard to bring succour to Nigerians,” Tinubu added, “It (Federal Government) has set aside N500bn and other packages are being unveiled to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal. Therefore, we need to support and pray for the government.”
Earlier, the Sultan had appealed to organised labour to give the Federal Government another chance.
He said, “For God’s sake, for Allah’s sake, anybody planning to go on strike should please give the government another chance. Please, rethink and give the government another chance.”
The Sultan, who said he had been involved in the negotiation of the labour leaders and the government since 2007, said if the NLC and TUC embarked on the strike, it would do more harm than good.
Police Conniving With Land Grabbers, Ogun Assembly Alleges
The Ogun State House of Assembly has accused the police of alleged connivance with land grabbers in the state.
The assembly called on the Inspector General of Police, KayodeEgbetokun, to look into the alleged illegal arrest and detention of innocent Ogun residents on trumped-up charges by the police in connivance with some suspected land grabbers in the State.
The Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, made the appeal at Tuesday’s plenary when other lawmakers took turns reporting rampant cases of land-grabbing in their constituencies.
The discussion took place when members were contributing to a debate on the second reading of the State Anti-land Grabbing (amendment) bill.
According to the Speaker, hundreds of innocent residents of Ogun are languishing in the various police cells, both at Alagbon in Lagos and the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
This, the Speaker said, was “due to the connivance of land grabbers with some security agents against innocent members of the public.”
Oluomo pleaded with IGP Egbetokun to wade into the matter so as to ensure that innocent Ogun residents are not made to suffer on account of trumped-up charges.
Oluomo advised that any land-related matters should be charged to court, while promising that the new amendment would ensure the constitution of a task force by the state government to handle land matters.
In their various submissions, the lawmakers stressed that the activities of the land grabbers had been affecting the peace, progress, and development of the state, hence the need to take a holistic approach towards addressing the menace.
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