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The Chairman, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), has disclosed the total number of suspected narcotraffickers the agency had detained in the past 18 months; in total, 18,940 drug dealers have been reportedly arrested.
Addressing a drug awareness conference at Abuja tagged ‘Drug and Substance Abuse: The Effect on Mental Health and National Security’, Marwa stressed that the arrest made shows the extent to which the problem had infused its tap root; the issue poses terrible consequences to the society.
The conference was hosted by the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), according to reports.
Marwa said, ‘Today, the public is familiar with NDLEA’s arrests, prosecutions, convictions and seizures. We are doing much more behind the scene.’
‘We are scaling up efforts for the prevention, treatment, care and rehabilitation of drug-dependent individuals in our facilities.’
‘In this regard, we have counselled, treated and rehabilitated not less than 12, 326 in the past 18 months.’
‘In collaboration with the support of UNODC we have launched standard guidelines for our counselling in all our centres.’
Marwa announced that it had launched a drug abuse hotline with a toll-free phone line 0800-1020-3040 where substance abusers, their relatives, or employers can call in and receive telemedicine from licensed professionals; he assured prompt response by the agency.
‘They include counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and other mental health experts. And this is free of charge – both the call itself and the services offered are free,’ he said.
He said that the NDLEA had discovered a strong connection between illegal drugs and the recent wave of instability caused by terrorists, bandits, and other non-state destabilizing actors.
The National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), was represented by Amb. Mohammed Ahmed, stated that Nigeria was undergoing an increase in the demand for and smuggling of narcotics. He added that this undesirable development had resulted in crimes, banditry, and other problems connected to insecurity.