The World Drug Report 2014 has scored Nigeria higher than other African countries in cannabis arrests. Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized over 339,906 kilograms of illicit drugs valued at 34 billion naira in 2013.
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“The Nigerian drug problem is obvious just like in other nations. The trend started, in the early 70s and 80s when little was known about narcotic drugs but unfortunately over the years Nigeria has graduated to a production and consuming country,” Obiefule Chidi, state commander of the NDLEA told CNBC Africa.
Chidi explained that in the past, Nigeria focused on drugs like cannabis sativa, at the time substances such as cocaine and heroin were transited from the West African state and were brought into the country from foreign countries like Brazil, India, and parts of South-East Asia. They were trafficked or exported to other countries where they were consumed, but unfortunately Nigerians started consuming these drugs and the most troublesome aspect of it these days is the production of methamphetamine in the country.
“The first laboratory was discovered in June 2011 and since then the NDLEA has discovered about five other laboratories where they are producing methamphetamine. And aside from that, there are other non-conventional drugs that are abused in the country. It is a worrisome development which requires serious action which the NDLEA is carrying out.”
The NDLEA will need more funding from the government to further help them in getting these drug tycoons and bringing them to book.
“The NDLEA funding is not adequate, the Nigerian government is trying but more needs to be done. These barons are well sophisticated so we need proper funding for the agency to be able to proper execute its mandate.”
To further reduce drug trafficking and the use of narcotics in Nigeria, the NDLEA would like to impose stiffer penalties for people involved.