Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A total of 42 hectares of cannabis were destroyed in Delta State by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) between 2014 and 2018.
The Agency also secured the conviction of 142 persons arrested for drug trafficking and abuse in the state during the period under review.
NDLEA State Commander Dennis Obiefule made this known in Asaba on Thursday at a training workshop for teachers and other stakeholders in the state.
Obiefule said both conventional and unconventional substances including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, alcohol, tramadol, cough syrup, containing codeine and monkey tail, are being abused in Delta State.
He disclosed that four Mexicans and five Nigerians are standing trial at the Federal High Court, Asaba, after their arrest in 2016 for allegedly operating a clandestine laboratory used for the production of methamphetamine in the state capital.
“The cultivation and warehousing of cannabis sativa has become a tradition to some people in Delta State, while the activities of these drug cultivators and traffickers (mainly outside the state) are affecting the image of the state and the psyche of the good people of Delta State,” Obiefule said.
“The drug scourge cuts across every age, gender, religion and social class. Reports show that 40 percent of young Nigerians aged between 15 and 35 abuse different drugs or substances. With studies showing that students, the unemployed, artisans, prostitutes, long-distance [truck] drivers and street children are vulnerable to this antisocial behavior.”
He admonished parents, guardians and teachers to always monitor and mentor their children, wards and students in order to protect them from the negative influences of their peers.
Obiefule advocated the establishment of treatment and rehabilitation centres in each senatorial district of the state.
Commissioner for Health Dr Mondi Ononye, representing Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, urged the public to shun the temptation to abuse drugs, discouraging the rising trend in illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse.
Ononye said the state government is poised to assist the drug enforcement agency in stopping the menace, especially as the Federal Government, through the Inter-Ministerial Drug Control Committee (IMC), has developed the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), which produced the Delta State Drug Control Committee inaugurated by the Delta State Government, in its efforts at addressing the issue in the state and the country at large.