From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has reported the conviction and sentencing of at least 474 persons between September and November, following charges filed against them at Federal High Courts across Nigeria.

The figure represents a portion of the over 1,000 traffickers that were jailed between January and November for drug offences.

A statement by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said that in September, a total of 73 persons were convicted with Jigawa state recording the highest figure of 15 convicts, followed by Adamawa -14 and FCT-11.

Jigawa state also topped the chart of the 150 convictions recorded by the Agency in October with 14 convicts, followed by Niger-13; Katsina-12; Taraba-11 and Lagos- 11.

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Adamawa and Abia states had the highest conviction figure in November with 23 each out of a total of 252 convictions recorded by the anti-narcotic agency in the past month, while FCT had 21 and Plateau- 14.

Interesting highlights of some of the cases include that of 32-year-old Chukwuemeka Kalu Orji who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour on 13th October by Justice EN Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State. The sentence makes it the third time Kalu Orji will be convicted and jailed for drug offences. He was first sentenced to eight months in prison on 15th December 2017 by Justice Anyadike and jailed for three years on 13th December 2020 by Justice DE Osiagor.

In a similar case, 58-year-old Obi Ajah was also convicted and sentenced to five calendar years imprisonment with hard labour on 13th Oct by Justice Anyadike. The convict is a second time offender, having been convicted on 29th November 2012 by Justice JA Olubanjo of the Federal High Court, Umuahia.

Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd) has commended the various state commands and the Directorate of Prosecution and Legal Services of the Agency for their commitment to diligent prosecution of cases filed in courts against drug offenders, saying such will go a long way to strengthen the deterrence effect of the work of the Agency.