The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Muhammad Abdallah, says tramadol is a major catalyst for insurgency in the North-East.
He noted that drug abuse increased during the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, adding that it is the country’s ‘real pandemic’.
Abdallah stated this on Thursday while featuring on Channels Television ahead of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking scheduled for June 26 with the theme, ‘Better Knowledge for Better Care’.
He said, of the abused psychoactive substances by Nigerian youths, the consumption of tramadol is more worrisome.
The NDLEA boss said, “The Government of India has up its ante; they have now put more control on the supply of tramadol to Nigeria.
“Tramadol, if I will explain a little bit more, for normal medicinal dosage is between 50mg and 100mg. But the ones we have seen in Nigeria range from 200mg to like 500mg. Even a horse will be deadbeat by the time it takes that.
“But that is what Nigerians have been taking. That is what fuels insurgency in the North-East. Because Theatre Commandants have testified to me that every Boko Haram camp they have overrun, they found paraphernalia of drug abuse particularly tramadol.”
Abdallah regretted that “the whole average of drug abuse in nations in 5%. In Nigeria, it is getting to 15%, that is not a data or a statistic we should be happy with.”
He said there was the need for collaborative efforts by all including parents to stem the tide of drug abuse in the country, saying, “I know we are going through a pandemic universally but the real pandemic to us is the drug pandemic.”
He added that the government has taken some steps to address the challenge of manpower confronting the agency, saying, “On the part of the government, it has taken some steps to ameliorate some of the deficiencies of the agency. For a start, Mr President has authorised an upgrade on the staff strength of the agency.
“A staff strength of 5,000 without being told is not a staff strength that can fight drugs the way it should be fought in Nigeria. Let me just mention three local governments – you know Mushin in Lagos, you know Fagge in Kano or even Nyanya in Abuja.
“I could deploy all of that strength to these places including me and there will still be some loopholes for trafficking and abuse to go on. That is why the President has approved the upgrade in phases. Following this will be logistics and equipment which come naturally with the upgrade of personnel.”