Freed from Boko Haram, Borno IDPs embrace drug use

The Borno State Government says it may declare a state of emergency to curb the menace of drug abuse in communities liberated from Boko Haram control.
The Commissioner for Justice, Alhaji Kaka Shehu, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Maiduguri that illicit drug use and abuse among the Internally Displaced Persons in the state was becoming alarming.
Shehu, also the Chairman, Borno State Committee for the Control of Drug Abuse, noted that in spite of security challenges in the state, there had been significant successes in the fight against drug abuse.
“I recall that some offices of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency were attacked in Gamborun Ngala, Banki, Baga and here in Maiduguri before it was taken over by Boko Haram insurgency.
“But in spite of these challenges, the NDLEA Borno command was able to recover more than 20 tonnes of various of assorted illicit drugs.
He said the agency also made significant arrests of drug barons, consumers and other traffickers over the last three years.
“It is against this backdrop that the government has deemed it fit to support the agency in its effort to wipe out the menace of drug abuse by setting up a Drug Control Committee.
“The committee comprises the military, NDLEA, Police, Civil Defence and other humanitarian and non Governmental Organisations.
“So far, we have mapped out an aggressive sensitisation on drug abuse in almost all the IDP camps because we have discovered that some IDPs are chronic addicts of illicit drugs.
“Our fear is that we do not want these IDPs to get back to their liberated homes and continue to constitute nuisance.
“We have had enough of Boko Haram and enough of our youths engaging in drug abuse. We do not want to go to the camps to start effecting arrests now because of the condition they have found themselves.
“But be rest assured that as we are moving to return them to their liberated communities, we will ensure that we rid the communities of nefarious activities.
“You can see that the truck that was intercepted with about 1,200 kilograms of Indian hemp was heading to Gamborun Ngala — a liberated community.
“The committee will then continue to liaise with the NDLEA to ensure that all liberated communities are free of illicit drugs.
“We will also liaise with the Federal High Court to ensure that all cases of drug abuse is handled with dispatch to serve as warning to others,’’ Shehu said. (NAN)