Over 200 drug traffickers have been arrested in Ebonyi State by the National Drug Laws and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), between January and October 2019.
Mohammed Bashiri Ibrahim, Deputy State Commander in charge of operations NDLEA Ebonyi State disclosed this in Abakaliki on Monday during a two-day workshop for men of Neighbourhood Watch in the state.
The two-day program with the theme: “Ebonyi must remain free from crime” was organized by the Office of the Commissioner for Border Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Mr. Bashiri also said that the command has secured 35 cases of drug offenders which is still in the court.
According to him, “Because of the increasing rate of drug trafficking in the state, the command has stepped up awareness campaign while drug-free club is being established in secondary schools to track them down on time as they are the major victims of drug abuse.
“From January to October we have arrested about 200 drug traffickers and the cases are going on in the court. I think this year alone we have secured about 35 convictions of drug offenders and we are still counting.
“Just on 22nd of this month, that was last week, we arrested 189kw of cannabis. The same day we arrested over 200 pinches of cocaine and 150 heroin within the town just in a single day”.
He attributed the increasing rate of drugs in Ebonyi to the rapid development in the state.
“The course, availability of the drugs, Ebonyi state is growing, and Development is coming to Ebonyi, the Governor is building structures and what do you expect, people are coming in to do business. You see all these people that work at the site they want to take drugs, so people come to do marketing. Ebonyi is like an emerging state so you expect drug infiltration into the state”.
On what is the agency doing to reduce it in the state, Mr. Basiri said, “Step up our operations and increase awareness, that is part of what we are doing now sensitization, advocacy and going to the nooks and crannies to inform the people. We have started establishing a free drug club in secondary schools for the past two months we have done in three schools. We want to start talking to the children because they are the victims”.
In a remark, the State Commissioner for Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha stated said that training of Neighborhood watch members is done quarterly to enable security personnel to tutor them.
According to him, members of neighborhood watch are civilians who were engaged by the state government to assist in the security of the state.
“So the training will help to prepare them for the troubles ahead. You know armed robbers can never stop, so far so good what you can see in Ebonyi state generally is a pocket crime but we are doing all we can to bring it to the barest minimum.
“They need to have the knowledge, not only carrying arm they need to know the technical knowhow. You see, when the intelligence aspect of it is impacted to them, it will make them know that yes they have other agencies who have the capacity to use arm that if there is anything happening in the corner you can place calls. And then you see these people, they are more on the ground than the security agencies, so they can easily get the report and give to the security agencies.
According to him, the state has rehabilitation homes at Izzi, Ikwo, and Afikpo areas of the state where drug addicts are rehabilitated.
The commissioner emphasized that training will help to keep criminals out of the state, “We are very close to December; many people will be visiting home, so we want to maintain what we have been knowing for, Ebonyi State is known as the most peaceful state in the country so we won’t do everything we know we can do to complement the efforts of the state governor and the security agencies to maintain that.
He said that the government is working to reduce drug trafficking to the barest minimum