by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State government has posited that, “The fight against illicit drugs and illicit substances is not the responsibility of the NDLEA alone, but of all stakeholders; and we all must play our parts in bringing this menace to an end, in order to save our present and future generations from destruction.”
This was an assertion made by the state governor, Barrister Simon Lalong, while speaking at Public Destruction of Forfeited Drugs Exhibits by NDLEA at Nanfang Mountain, off Shen Road, in Du District of Jos South local government area of Plateau State on Tuesday.
Lalong expressed confidence in ‘fight against illicit drugs,’ saying, “The people and Government of The Plateau State are proud of the tireless efforts of officers and men of the Plateau State Command of the NDLEA for their diligence that resulted in the seizure of these illicit drugs.
“The menace of illicit drug production, trafficking, distribution and consumption is not new to our country and, indeed, to our sate; but it has continued to raise concerns for the fact that, despite concerted efforts by government, development partners, religious, traditional and civil society organisations, this dangerous trend has continued to grow,” Lalong said.
The governor noted that, “Today, the security challenges that we are confronted with – such as kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, cultism, rape and other associated problems like road accidents – are associated with the illicit drug business.
“That is why my administration considers this event very key to the progress and development of Plateau State, and is therefore, committed to ensuring that the efforts of NDLEA are strengthened towards frustrating and halting the activities of drug peddlers,” he stated.
According to the governor, with the collaboration of all security agencies and the citizens of the state, the administration has worked assiduously to bring to an end recurring crises and criminal activities in this state; “and we remain committed to consolidating on the gains recorded, in order to give our people the right environment to prosper.”
In a frantic warning note, the governor stated that, “All miscreants and criminal elements that are under my watch, Plateau State will remain a no-go-area for them, as we shall not rest until we defeat them.
“We shall use all the resources and instruments available to us to deal decisively with anyone found threatening the peace of our people, whether under the influence of drugs or otherwise,” he assured.
Governor Lalong stated that, “Today, we are destroying various drugs weighing over 16.697kg, which were seized by the NDLEA at various times in the state, which they equally succeeded in apprehending dangerous drug peddlers and their collaborators, some of whom have been tried and convicted and others still undergoing prosecution.”
The governor expressed worry, saying, “Despite all efforts, these drugs continuously find their way onto our streets, homes and society at large. This calls for more vigilance and proactive engagement of parents, guardians, community and traditional rulers in curbing this ugly trend.
“Traditional, religious and community leaders have a very crucial role to play in ensuring the security of lives and property of the people of our state,” he said, and noted that, he expects them all to rise to the occasion by exposing criminal elements within their communities to assist the government in maintaining peace.
The governor also directed the commissioners of secondary and higher education to ensure that they encourage and sustain sensitization and education of students against drug abuse and associated crimes.
“We need to work ahead by adopting preventive measures that will keep our children away from the damaging impact of drugs. Using such approach, we shall not only save the lives of many, but also recruit ambassadors and advocates that will help propagate the campaign against this monster, which is now threatening our collective existence. ‘A stitch in time,’ they say, ‘saves nine,’” he stressed.
While elaborating on the menace of drug abuse, the governor said, “As for those, who are addicted to drugs and have been adversely affected, the state government would continue to work with the NDLEA and development partners towards ensuring the rehabilitation of victims.
“We cannot allow them to waste away, because they have God-given endowments that can impact our society positively,” he said.
Governor Lalong commended the synergy among security agencies in the state, “who have collaborated with the NDLEA for the successes we are celebrating today,” and urge them to sustain this robust partnership, particularly in intelligence gathering and response.
He also called on all voluntary and non-governmental bodies, which are always doing their part in assisting the law enforcement agencies with information and resources, saying, “This will help us have a peaceful, serene and happy society that we all desire.”