The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo Command, on Thursday disclosed that the command had secured the convictions of not less than 213 illicit drug traffickers in the state.
Mr Buba Wakawa, state Commander of the agency, disclosed this at the palace of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, when he led top management staff of the agency on a courtesy visit on the traditional ruler.
Wakawa explained that the figure represents convictions secured by the command from 2015 to March 2022, adding that 256 cases are still pending at the Federal High Court.
He also disclosed that within the period under review, no fewer than 2,193 suspected illicit drugs traffickers, comprising 1,636 males and 557 females, were arrested by the command.
On drug seizures, he disclosed that the command within the period under review seized 488,297.844 Kilogrammes (488 tonnes) of illicit drugs.
This, he said, included 486,307.314 Kilogrammes of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa, 1,953.68 Kg of suspected Psychotropic substance, 34.767 Kg of suspected methamphetamine substance, 1.871 Kg of suspected cocaine, and 0.212 kg of suspected heroin.
The commander also told the traditional ruler that about 90 vehicles and 33 motorcycles used as means of conveyance of illicit drugs were seized.
He added that within the period, 183 farms totalling 209.67142 hectares were destroyed within the period, while under the command’s drug demand reduction, 1,377 clients were counselled.
The commander noted that although Edo state is blessed with very fertile land for cultivation of crops, these lands and forest reserves have been overtaken by criminals and drug traffickers for the cultivation of illicit drugs.
He said that the command had been working assiduously to curtail the activities of drug traffickers and peddlers in the state.
He added that the Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, in view of the menace of drug abuse in the country, directed that critical stakeholders and traditional rulers should be involved in curtailing the menace.
He further said the chairman/Chief Executive of the agency also directed the inauguration of the War Again Drug Abuse (WADA) across all states in the country.
Wakawa therefore appealed to the Oba to be the grand ambassador of WADA in the state.
In his response, Oba Ewuare II, commended the NDLEA for its efforts to rid the state of illicit drug and drug abuse.
He pledged that the palace will collaborate with the command in ridding the state of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.
He gave the assurance that he would summon a summit where traditional rulers in the state would be invited to brainstorm on the issue of drug trafficking and abuse, with a view to chatting a way to end the menace.