The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is a Federal agency in Nigeria charged with eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, and trafficking of hard drugs. The agency was established by Decree Number 48 of 1989. The NDLEA is present in international airports, seaports and border crossing. It tries to eradicate cannabis by destroying plantings. The NDLEA also targets the leaders of narcotics and money laundering organizations. Its head office is in Ikoyi, Lagos.
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Statistics on NDLEA’s Successes on Drug cultivation in Nigeria
Former Chairman of NDLEA, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, described illicit drugs as “alien” to Nigeria. Cannabis, now locally grown in most states of the federation, was introduced to the country by foreigners. Ms Dagmar Thomas, the Country Representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), says Nigeria was one of the largest cannabis growers in Africa, with over 8% of the population using cannabis. Annual cannabis seizures increased from 126 metric tonnes in 2005 to 210 metric tonnes in 2007.
- The NDLEA describes the South West region of Nigeria as one of the main centers of illicit drug production in the country. 196.5 acres (0.795 km2) of cannabis farmland was discovered and destroyed in the region in 2008.
- In particular, Edo State has the highest rate of seizure of cannabis in the country.
- In April 2009, the NDLEA confiscated 6.5 tonnes of marijuana from the home of a man in Ogun State who claimed to be 114 years old.
- In September 2009, the NDLEA reported destroying a 24 hectare Cannabis Plantation in a forest reserve in Osun State.
- In January 2009, the NDLEA publicly burned 5,605.45 kilograms of drugs seized from traffickers in the historic town of Badagry, Lagos. The bonfire included 376.45 kilograms of cocaine, 71.46 kilograms of heroin and 5,157.56 tonnes of cannabis in 2015
NDLEA: Effective in the Fight against Drug Trafficking
In 2008, Nigeria was certified by the United States of America in the anti-narcotic crusade, for the eight successive time. President George Bush said that Nigeria had made significant progress in counter narcotics and had effectively co-operated with the United States on drug-related and money laundering cases. In Katsina State alone, one hundred people were convicted for drug offences from January to May 2008 and 358 people were arrested for drug offences in this period.
The United States has donated full body scanning machines for the Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt international airports and has provided security training and orientation airport officers. The machines have proved effective in catching smugglers and couriers taking cocaine from Latin America to Europe by way of Nigeria. Between 2006 and June 2008, over 12,663 suspected drug dealers were arrested, with seizure of over 418.8 metric tonnes of various hard drugs. For example, in July 2009, a woman about to board a KLM flight at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport was arrested by NDLEA officers and later excreted 42 wraps of cocaine, weighing 585 grams. In September 2009, the NDLEA arrested a Guinean woman en route from Brazil to Europe with 6.350 kg of pure cocaine at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
In June 2003, the National Committee for the Reform of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency issued a report that identified a cartel of senior NDLEA members which arrangedthe release of 197 convicted drug barons and couriers between 2005 and 2006 and recommended prosecution of these official.
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NDLEA has a training school called Citadel Counter Narcotics Nigeria located at Katu Rikos, Plateau State.
The functions of the NDLEA in the control of drugs in Nigeria are as follows:
– The NDLEA is an organ of Nigerian Government that helps in regulating standards of drugs manufactured or imported to the country.
– Its function is to arrest and enforce the law on those who traffic or deal in the business of hard drugs.
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