Thursday, February 22, 2024

5,147 out of 31,675 nabbed drug trafficking suspects are in jail – NDLEA

BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

The National Drug Law En­forcement Agency has successfully jailed 5,147 persons found to have been engaged in drug and illicit substance offences.

According to the NDLEA authorities, the convicts are part of 31,675 suspects ar­rested by the agency in the past few years.

Chairman of the ND­LEA, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd.), disclosed this on Monday during the commemoration of the 2023 United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, held at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Marwa also cautioned citi­zens against stigmatisation of people dealing with drug and illicit substance abuse and addiction, saying such behaviours could impede the rehabilita­tion of victims.

Marwa equally stated that victims of drug abuse and addiction, instead of being stigmatised, deserve society’s empathy and sup­port, noting that they are also human beings with in­herent dignity.

According to him, such persons deserve the un­derstanding of the rest of society to embolden them to seek help and ac­cess to recovery support systems.

The NDLEA chief said by focusing on people first, stakeholders can recognise that individuals struggling with drug abuse are not defined solely by their ad­diction.

“They are human beings with inherent dignity, deserving of understanding, empathy, and support. Our prejudices hinder their ac­cess to healthcare, employ­ment and social support systems.

“Hence, we must work to break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking help and foster an environment where they feel safe, respected, and encouraged to access the necessary treatments and interventions,” he said.

Marwa explained that a crucial part of this assign­ment is addressing stigma and discrimination in at­titudes and practices that create additional hurdles for those seeking assistance.

“By raising awareness, educating communities, and promoting acceptance, we can challenge these harmful stereotypes and fos­ter a society that embraces individuals on their path to recovery,” he said.

The theme for the 2023 commemoration was ‘People First: Stop Stigma and Dis­crimination, Strengthen Prevention’.

Present at the occasion were President Bola Tinubu represented by the Secre­tary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Country Representative of the Unit­ed Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Oliver Stolpe; Speaker of the House of Representatives, represent­ed by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu; Solicitor General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba; repre­sentative of the Chairman of the MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro, and For­mer Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo.

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