By Bashir Rabe Mani
The Interpol, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency( NDLEA), and other relevant agencies, have seized 881.100kgs of illicit drugs as a result of a joint operation conducted in Sokoto State, as well as the Nigeria-Niger border.
The Chairman of the agency, retired Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, disclosed this in Sokoto on Friday at the closing ceremony of a five-day Joint Training and Operations Exercise, between Nigeria and the Niger republic.
The programme was organised by the ECOWAS in conjunction with Interpol in Sokoto.
Abdallah stated that the seizures were made sequel to the joint operation code-named, ” Operation Ninibo, Nigeria-Niger border.”
The NDLEA Boss further stated that six suspects, including a 12-year-old boy, were arrested during the operation.
He gave the breakdown of the seizures as: Diazepam 67.10kgs, Tramadol 22.60kgs, cough syrup with codeine 794kgs and 30kgs of cannabis.
” There is robust existing Protocol between Nigeria and the Niger republic, which is the background of these efforts to rid the region of illicit drugs.
” It is against this background that the agency is currently working out modalities to engage member states of the sub-region on bilateral agreements.
” This will lead to the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that will strengthen cooperation, enhance intelligence sharing and mitigate constraints,” Abdallah said.
The Chairman of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, represented by retired Col. Diange Abdulrahman,said West Africa was a regional hub for the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and other related crimes.
”The lack of effective management and control of West Africa land, sea and air borders foster the prevalence of illicit drug trafficking, as well as organised crimes,” Souza said.
The Leader of the team from Niger republic, Commissioner of Police Salifou Assoumane, restated the commitment of his country to rid the Nigerian-Niger borders of illicit drug trafficking, criminal networks and the sale of falsified drugs.
The Interpol Team Leader, Mr Hakidu Illo, said that the training centred on how to detect illicit drugs concealed in vehicles, shoes, containers and other personal effects of the drug traffickers.
”The operation is also aimed at clamping down on illicit drug cartels and to recover stolen vehicles from Europe, alongside other vital documents, such as International Passports.( NAN)