The Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi has called on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to assist the State in exposing drug barons who are indigenes. Obi made the call when he received the Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency Ahmadu Giade and his team on Thursday while on a working visit to explore ways of halting the spread of Clandestine Laboratories for the manufacture of methamphetamine in the State.
While expressing concern over the involvement of some Anambra indigenes in illegal drug trade, the Governor promised to address the problem of drug production and trafficking in the State. “We must aggressively fight against illicit drug activities in the State. Let the society know those who are contributing to the growth and development of the society by working hard to earn a decent living. We also want to know those who are making money through drugs and criminal activities. This way the society will stop celebrating criminals” the Governor stated.
The governor also promised to provide operational vehicles to the State command of the Agency. He pledged to support the Anti-drug Agency in its offensive against drug barons. “The State will support you in making our society drug-free. We shall provide you with vehicles and other assistance but you must justify whatever is given to you by improved and sustained performance. This way we will be encouraged to give you more” Obi stressed.
Giade in his presentation described the illegal drug factory discovered in Nanka, Anambra State as shocking stressing that majority of persons apprehended in connection with methamphetamine production were indigenes of Anambra. In his words, “when we discovered the first laboratory in Lagos, nobody thought that it could spread to Anambra. The situation today is different with the illegal methamphetamine laboratory found in Nanka, Anambra State. Besides, over 80 per cent of persons apprehended in connection with Clandestine Laboratories both in Lagos and Anambra are indigenes of Anambra State”.
The NDLEA boss added that drug trafficking is a lucrative crime that demands deliberate and committed attention of stakeholders. “If we fail to take decisive action today against the proliferation of these illicit laboratories and drug trafficking, the implications on our society will be catastrophic. Methamphetamine is fast becoming the first drug of choice for drug barons due to its increasing demand and value in Europe and Asia. The expensive nature of the drug in global markets exposes drug cartels to quick wealth. We all know that drug cartels are highly susceptible to terrorism financing, money laundering and political violence to mention a few” Giade stated.
The Agency in the last two years had discovered five methamphetamine laboratories. Four were located in Lagos while the fifth one was discovered in Nanka, Anambra State. Findings have also shown that drug cartels are using residential houses for the illegal drug production in flagrant disregard of the attendant health hazards.
According to the Giade, “production areas remain potentially risky long after the production gadgets had been dismantled. Contamination due to exposure to production areas could lead to cancer and even birth defects. This poses a serious risk to ignorant occupants of such buildings. It is this serious. Unfortunately, the Nanka laboratory was taking place right in the family house of the suspect. This is very pathetic”.
The Chairman immediately directed the new commander in the State Mr Sule Momodu to work hard in ensuring that all laboratories in Anambra State are promptly detected. “The Nanka laboratory is an indication that there might be others in the State. We must therefore act fast and protect human lives. I expect the Anambra commander to work hard and uncover any Methamphetamine Laboratory in the State” Giade directed.
Officials on the Chairman’s entourage include the director of Drug Demand Reduction Dr. Lawrence Opara, director of Assets and Financial Investigation Mrs Victoria Egbase and the director of Technical Services Mr Olugbenga Mabo.