From CHARLES ADEGBITE, Ado-Ekiti
The National Drug Law Enforcement agency (NDLEA) last year arrested no fewer than 378 people for drug offences. The state Commandant of the NDLEA, Mr. Dele Akingbade, who disclosed this in Ado Ekiti yesterday while briefing newsmen on the activities of the agency for 2012, said 69 were convicted out of the number.
The people were those nabbed either for planting or selling Indian hemp and other psychotropic drugs, or for drug abuse. Giving the analysis of the arrests, the NDLEA boss said 344 of the suspects were male and the rest 34 were female. Akingbade said the agency prosecuted those arrested and the court had convicted 69 of them and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment.
The agency, according to him, discovered and destroyed 1, 889 acres of farmland where cannabis was planted by some of the suspects. He appealed to landowners to desist from giving their land to cannabis growers, saying their activities were destroying the future of the youths who were lured into taking the banned substance.
Akingbade expressed gratitude for Ekiti State Government’s for donating a building to be used as a rehabilitation centre for drug users and also appealed for more support, saying the agency had not started using the building because it lacked facilities to make it functional. He said: “The state government donated a building to us at Iyin Ekiti, we are grateful for this gesture. But we have not started using it because we need to equip it with beds, mattresses, games and other facilities to make it functional.
“We are still using our office here for counselling. In 2012, we counselled and rehabilitated 127 drug addicts, among them were 120 male and seven female.” He urged parents who suspected that their children were into hard drugs to bring them to the agency for rehabilitation.