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Nigeria’s drug enforcement agency uncovers new, scentless marijuana distributed by female traffickers

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Mohammed Bashir Ibrahim, Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Kwara State Command, has a revealed grim scenario in drug law enforcement in state, stating that use and supply of synthetic cannabis, modified form of marijuana (India hemp), is now prevalent among drug abusers.

He added that More women appear to be involved in the supply chain of the banned substances like the synthetic cannabis.

“There are others that they call ‘loud, Colorado’ and so on, explained Commander Ibrahim.

Kwara state according to data from United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, has drug trafficking prevalence of 13 percent, highest in the whole of north central Nigeria.

The commander admitted that the data from UNODC is quite obsolete, given that it was produced in 2018 (statistical data are reviews at least every five years).

These factors said Ibrahim make the job drug law enforcement challenging.

Ibrahim explained these details on Tuesday when a group of journalists under the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Kwara State chapter paid him courtesy call at the state head office in Ilorin.

SWAN is seeking collaboration in capacity building in the area of drugs and sports to further enhance their reportorial skills.

Speaking on the prevalence of synthetic cannabis, the commander explained that unlike the traditional Indian hemp (Igbo), the substances does not emit pungent odor and come in far smaller packages making detection more difficult.

“In those days you can perceive the smell of Indian hemp from miles away.

“But it is not so with this new substance. It’s odorless and even more potent and addictive.

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“A smoker could be taking it right before you and you might think it’s just cigarette,” he explained.

Added to the sophistication of policing the banned substance, the commandant revealed that more women are involved the supply chain of the substances like other drugs.

Operationally, NDLEA in Nigeria tackles drug trafficking on two fronts which are the supply and demand.

But because UN classifies drug abuse as an ailment, drug law enforcement agencies globally face difficulty prosecuting those on found using banned substances.

“We are required to help them,” he said, leaving NDLEA no choice but to double down in pursuing the suppliers.

This brings a special kind of challenge for NDLEA operatives because not only does these new offenders fall outside the usual profile, there ‘product’ now come as sophisticated packages.

“Synthetic cannabis come in very small packages, not bigger than seeds of an arrange.

“With few seeds, a smoker can get as high as he wants.

“So it no longer require the substances being put in big sacks and risk being caught by our operatives.

“They could also be hidden anywhere within the house,” said Ibrahim.

Speaking on the danger it poses to sports, the NDLEA Commander added that youths are especially vulnerable to drug abuse because, according to him, “youths tend to glamorize drug use.”

“Matters are not helped when adults, handlers of athletes tend to sell them the drugs.

“We recently secured conviction of a coach who was selling drugs to young athletes in his care,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of journalists at the NDLEA office, Ayodeji Ismail, chairman, said that sports writers are very much aware of the dangers drug abuse pose to sports and youth development.

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“We like to retool our members to properly report these in our bits,” he said.

He also pleaded that NDLEA should always make their presence felt at sports events.

“Your presence will help keep drug traffickers away from our athletes,” he said.

 


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