Narcotic drugs seized by the officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, amounted to 1.84 million kilograms in 5 years.
This is estimated at about N46 billion, the analysis of data on seizures of narcotic drugs between 2012 and 2016 in Nigeria has shown.
To gauge the impact of recession on narcotic drug business, we further divided the 5-year period into pre-recession and recession periods. According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), NDLEA seized 744,338 kg of narcotic drugs in the pre recession period which was between 2012 and 2014 whereas in just two years from 2015 to 2016, the same body seized 1.1 million kg of the same drugs, representing an increase of 47 percent between the two periods.
Of the 1.1 million kg drugs seized between 2015 and 2016, a total of 834,709 kg or 76 percent of the seizures were made in 2015 alone and that was 404 percent higher than 165,652 kg seized in 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, Edo, Ondo, Delta, Oyo and FCT were the places where the highest seizures were made whereas Ondo, Edo, Kano, Kaduna and FCT topped the states where the largest seizures we made between 2015 and 2016.
Meanwhile, in spite of the upsurge in narcotic drugs seizures, the number of arrests made annually has remained flat. Particularly in 2015 which witnessed a 404 percent increase in narcotic drugs seizures, 8,443 suspects were arrested as against 8,536 arrests recorded in 2014.
“Narcotic drug business is a deadly business. And presently now many Nigerians are getting into it because they see it as a means of livelihood while some are lured into it,” said Francis Bola Akin-John, president, International Church Growth Ministry which runs an NGO that is involved in drug demand reduction.
“Recession might have played a role in the upsurge in narcotic drug production,” Akin-John added.
Kano and Katsina topped the states where the highest arrests were made between 2015 and 2016. A total of 1,413 people were arrested in Kano while 1,101 arrests were made in Katsina during the period. By implication, an average of 4 arrests were made daily in Kano during the period while 3 arrests were made daily in Katsina in the same period.
In Plateau, Abuja, Bauchi, Anambra, Edo, Kaduna and Rivers states, an average of 2 arrests were made daily between 2015 and 2016 while only an arrest was made daily in other states.
Trade in illicit drugs has attracted global attention for some years following its devastating effects on users. A 2016 technical report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) put the market value for cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and heroin at 32 billion euros. To arrive at this value, the body surveyed drugs Europeans aged 15 to 65 years. The body stated that as at 2013, 10 million Europeans were infrequent users of cannabis; 5.23 million were occasional users; 4 million were regular users while 3 million Europeans were intensive users.
In the United States, drugabuse.com estimated that on the average, Americans spend $296 billion each year on tobacco; $37 billion on cocaine; between $30 billion and $60 billion on marijuana; $22 billion on heroine while $17 billion annually is spent on methamphetamine.