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Crime & Punishment of Sunday, 2 January 2022


NDLEA confiscates N120bn cash, assets from 11,341 traffickers, barons

Spokesman, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi Spokesman, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency confiscated cash, assets and drugs valued at N120bn from 11,341 traffickers and drug barons in 2021.

The agency also successfully prosecuted and jailed 1,111 out of the 11,341 traffickers arrested between January and November, 2021.

The spokesman, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, who disclosed this in response to an inquiry from Sunday PUNCH, said the agency had counselled and rehabilitated 7,066 drug users.

He stated, “Between January and November 2021, over 11,341 drug traffickers were arrested; 1,111 jailed and 7,066 drug users counselled and rehabilitated while a total of six drug barons were arrested with over N120bn in cash, assets and drugs seized from offenders within the same period.

“We won’t be able to capture the entire figures until January because several operations have been conducted after the last compilation in November.”

Babafemi said the agency would further take the battle to drug traffickers and barons in the New Year, noting that the NDLEA would continue to frustrate traffickers.

Meanwhile, the agency has observed that patients could not access controlled drugs such as opioid medication.

It sought improved access and appropriate use of controlled medicines in the country.

According to the NDLEA National Drug Control Master Plan, 2021-2025, the agency in 2018  confiscated 124.864kg of cocaine;  273, 249.087kg of cannabis; methamphetamine, 270.084kg; heroin, 59.617kg; ephedrine, 326.560kg and  tramadol 22,562.300kg.

In 2019, the agency seized 112.996kg of cocaine; 602,654.500kg of cannabis; methamphetamine, 146.380kg; heroin, 23.894kg; ephedrine, 454.085kg and tramadol, 2,078.831kg.

To improve access to controlled drugs by patients, the plan recommended an uninterrupted yet monitored process that allows professionals to diagnose and dispense needed medication, while ensuring that patients access controlled medicines at the right time and place, and at affordable prices.

This process, it added, requires close monitoring as it moves through all phases, from manufacturing to consumption, including procurement, production, inventory management, distribution and use, noting that it was at the dispensing stage at public and private health facilities where patients were most impacted by lack of access.

The plan stated, “Input from stakeholders shows a compounding crisis involving a lack of availability of controlled  medicines for genuine patients and its severe impact on the health and wellness of Nigerians 

“However, the supply chain in its entirety must be examined to understand the situation in Nigeria. If not well managed, it will significantly contribute to the challenges of accessing medication for patient use. To improve access at public and private health facilities, it is critical to have one coordinating body or mechanism that reduces the barriers for access to medication for the patient. These barriers include, but are not restricted to, rules and policies on licensing requirements, dispensing practices, labeling requirements, inventory management, taxes and policies that affect price.”