The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said it would arrest and prosecute politicians that encourage the use of illicit drugs during political campaigns.
The Ondo State Commander, Mr Kayode Mumuni, lamented in Akure, that “most politicians, directly or indirectly encourage the use of drug by their followers.
According to him, “I appeal to politicians in Ondo state to set an example to all the political leaders in the country by ensuring that their followers steer clear of drugs and drug abuse because if they don’t, the consequences on the residents will be calamitous.
It will be practically difficult for us to go to campaign grounds to arrest them, if we do that, it will be insinuated that maybe, their opponents are the ones sponsoring us. So, we don’t want to be caught in the political web, but what we want to assure everybody is that whosoever that is caught indulging in any act of drug abuse or use will not be spared, irrespective of the party he comes from.”
Mumuni therefore appealed to politicians in the state to ensure that their followers steer clear of drugs and drug abuse as campaigns into the 2023 general elections commenced.
Speaking on drugs in schools, the commander said :“We’ve been to various institutions, we’ve visited secondary schools and have gone to Churches and Mosques to spread this awareness that drugs only bring destruction, it doesn’t do the body or the community any good and we will make sure that we reduce the inflow or outflow of drugs to the barest minimum in the state.”
Meanwhile, Mumuni, said 220 suspects have been arrested with nine tonnes of assorted illicit drugs and other deadly substances seized by the state Command in the last eight months.
According to him, the seizure occurred between January and August while over 54 of the suspects have been prosecuted.
The Commander added that 68 were counseled and released after discovering their level of involvement in cultivation, while 15 were rehabilitated.
“These include those brought by their parents or guardians for rehabilitation and we have a center here where the rehabilitation is being done, we also have a consultant psychiatric from the Federal Medical Center who comes from time to time.
“We are not really happy arresting people. What we want is for us to eliminate drugs and we feel that we can eliminate it without necessarily arresting people and that is why we focus more on sensitization, awareness and enlightenment campaigns which aimed at discouraging the use of drugs.
“If a suspect is arrested, he is not necessarily taken for rehabilitation. What we do is to investigate and when we see that he is culpable, we will then prosecute him in court. Quite a lot have been prosecuted and convicted. We have over 54 of them convicted between January and August, 2022.
“Ordinarily, a Psychiatric doctor ought to be resident here but because of lack of funds, we could not afford to have one. So what we do is to partner Federal Medical Center”