Nigeria: Drug-related Crime Maintained a 5-year High
By Joshua Olufemi
As the United Nations yesterday marked the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as provided by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have shown 5-year situation with respect to drug related crimes in Nigeria between 2010 and 2014.
Drug abuse and trafficking continue to constitute social and criminal problems across the world. However, the health and security implications in Nigeria is also worrisome. The upward trend of narcotics drugs seized by enforcement agencies over the 5-year period show that drug abuse and illicit trafficking keep going high despite efforts by law enforcement agencies to curb the menace
According to available data, a total 1.2 million kilograms of narcotics drugs were seized in all 36 states of the country, over the 5 years period with an estimated average of 240 thousand per annum.
For the 5-year period, the North-west geo-political zones recorded the highest number of drug cases with a 5-year average of 2251 cases. This is followed by South-West with 1579 cases and South-South with 1333 cases. The last three from top were North-Central with 1103, South-East with 989, and North-East with 851 respectively.
In terms of drug crime arrest, the drug law enforcement agencies made a total of 41,176 arrest in five years with an annual average of 8,235. The top ten states by state average for the 5 year period are Kano (739), Lagos (616), Katsina (479), Anambra (337), FCT (295), Rivers (294), Akwa Ibom (284), Kaduna (276), Oyo (266) and Ekiti (248).
Likewise, the number of drug related convictions for the five year period was 8,671 and the annual average was 1734. The top ten states by state average for the 5 year period were Kano (193), Lagos (153), FCT (98), Adamawa (87), Plateau (85), Katsina (77), Kebbi (75), Kaduna (71) , Jigawa (59) and Osun (58).
In terms of rehabilitation, report showed that between 2010 and 2014, a total of 21,600 counselling cases were concluded. In other words, an average of 4320 cases were concluded annually.
The United Nation’s Secretary General in his message identified that Drug dependence is a disease, not a crime. Also stressed that the real criminals are the drug traffickers.”drug use, at its core, is a health issue.
He further emphasized that “governments have a responsibility to counteract both drug trafficking and drug abuse, but communities can also make a major contribution. Families, schools, civil society and religious organizations can do their part to rid their communities of drugs. Businesses can help provide legitimate livelihoods. The media can raise awareness about the dangers of narcotics. This will foster communities free of drug-related crime and violence, individuals free of drug dependence who can contribute to our common future, and a safer world for all”.