The Cross River State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has successfully prosecuted 24 persons for drug related offences since the last one year.
The State Commander, Kayode Adeniyi, said this yesterday in Calabar at the 2014 commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Adeniyi added that the suspects were sentenced to various jail terms of up to 15 years, adding that, other drug related cases were still pending at the Federal High Court Calabar.
He said, “We are happy and glad that, two of the suspects were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment without option of fine. This will serve as deterrence to other people who might contemplate to engage in illicit drug activities.”
He called on the State Government to assist in the fight against drug abuse by establishing a drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centres in the state.
According to him, this would go a long way in giving hope to those involved in drug peddling in line with the theme of the 2014 commemoration.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘A message of hope: drug use disorders are preventable and treatable’.
Chairman of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, described drug addiction as a mental illness, saying it changes the brain and affects the normal hierarchy of needs and desires.
He said, “We have situations where drug addicts abandon spouses, school, work and other important functions. They can exchange belongings like wristwatches, cars and even houses for drugs. This is so because their brain has been conditioned to prioritize drug use above other needs.”
He however, said drug addiction was preventable and treatable.
He called for the collaboration of all stakeholders in the fight against the menace to save Nigerian youths and the generations unborn.
He disclosed that NDLEA was currently working with the European Union and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to strengthen and upgrade drug treatment centres to international standard.
The event was attended by representatives of the state government, the military and paramilitary organisations, students and NYSC drug free club.