The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Chairman, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has said that supermarkets, confectionaries, clubs and other related outlets have been placed on watchlist by the agency over recent findings that cookies and other edibles are being infused with illicit drugs and sold to unsuspecting Nigerians.
Aside from the watchlist placement, the NDLEA boss stated that the agency would intensify clampdown on the listed outlets and ensure clubs, supermarkets and confectionaries stores are rid of drug cookies, biscuits and other products laced with illicit substances.
Marwa added that the recent arrest of a 300-level university student, Rhoda Agboje and her boyfriend, Ifeanyi Nwankwo, both of who specialise in producing and selling drug cookies to schoolchildren, clubs and supermarkets in Abuja necessitated the move.
Speaking after he received a further briefing on follow up operations from the Commander, FCT Command of the Agency, Mohammed Malami Sokoto over the arrest, said that the enforcement unit of the agency would begin on the spot assessment of products being sold at all the listed stores and clubs across the country.
“As part of our preventive measures, we’ll henceforth go after supermarkets, clubs, confectionaries and other outlets and their owners, selling drug cookies, biscuits, cakes and other products laced with illicit substances under whatever guise.
“We’ll not shy away from hitting their production spots, supply and sales outlets before getting into the hands of innocent schoolchildren, unsuspecting members of the public and even our vulnerable young men and women. We won’t rest on this until we chase them out of this criminal business. This is why I want to seize this opportunity to warn owners and operators of supermarkets, clubs and other sales outlets to clean their stores of these illicit substances before we get to them,” Marwa stated.
He added that it was surprising that the Abuja drug cookies are packaged in designed paper wraps under the name “Function” with its motto as “function right with every bite.”
“At the back of the package is a quote the suspects attribute to God to justify their illicit trade; “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seeds, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.”
Meanwhile, the Emir of Keffi, Dr. Shehu Chindo-Yamusa III, has asked the Marwa-led anti-drug agency to come to the aid of his emirate by taking over a rehabilitation centre being constructed in Keffi through community efforts.
The monarch made the plea when he paid a courtesy visit with other leaders of his emirate to the NDLEA boss yesterday at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
While commending Marwa for his outstanding commitment to the fight against drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria, the Emir said “we have come to plead with you to take over the rehabilitation centre we started as a first-class drug treatment facility through private efforts in Keffi. We are doing this because we know the damage drugs can do to any nation.”
According to him, “with proper funding, the centre can handle the rehabilitation needs of the entire North Central and even most parts of the North. If Keffi is at peace, Abuja will be at peace but if Keffi is on fire due to the menace of drug abuse, Abuja will equally be on fire due to its proximity to the FCT.”
In his response, the NDLEA boss commended the Emir for his support to the crusade against drug abuse and assured him of the agency’s preparedness to work with him to rid his emirate of the drug scourge.