The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has impounded no fewer than 6,021 international passports belonging to drug offenders in the past four years, just as it secured same number of convictions between 2006 and 2009.
Chairman of the NDLEA, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, who disclosed this in a statement Tuesday, said the seizure of the passports was to deter others from peddling drugs.
According to him, the passports will not be released to the suspects even after completing their jail terms.
Giade, however, said the passports would be given to their owners only on presidential pardon.
Giving a breakdown of convictions secured by the agency in the last four years, Giade said the NDLEA secured convictions for 1,363 suspects in 2006; 1,459 in 2007; 1,712 in 2008 and 1,487 in 2009.
On the celebration of this year's International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, held every 26 June, the NDLEA boss said this year's theme, Think Health, Not Drugs, was chosen to raise global awareness on the grave health implications of drug abuse.
The focus is on promoting good health conditions by shunning drug trafficking and abuse. We have, therefore, set in motion a nationwide campaign on the imperative for all to think health and not drugs.
This enlightenment accentuates the provisions of the NDLEA Act which criminalises all drug supply activities while viewing drug abuse as a purely health problem which deserves the attention of all of us, Giade stated.
According to him, the campaign is to protect young people who are known to be more vulnerable to drug trafficking and abuse the world over.
He noted that drug abuse and trafficking leave on its trail grave consequences for the individual, society and the country at large, adding that public health practitioners have analyzed illicit drugs and came up with a comprehensive picture of the grave consequences of drug abuse.
Giade also noted that drug abuse could induce symptoms similar to mental illness depending on the drug type and duration of abuse.
He said: This can occur both in the intoxicated state and also during the withdrawal state. In some cases, these substances induce psychiatric disorders that can persist long after detoxification.
Amphetamine or cocaine abuse may result in prolonged psychosis or depression. Cannabis may trigger panic attacks during intoxication and its use may cause chronic mood disorder.
22 June 2010
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