The Nigerian Navy on Thursday handed over 463 bags of cannabis sativa (marijuana) worth N500 million it intercepted during routine patrol to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Malami Haruna, handed over the seized drugs to NDLEA’s Commander on Narcotics, Mr Isaac Uzah, at NNS BEECROFT, Apapa, Lagos.
Haruna said that the boat ladened with the suspected contraband was intercepted during a routine sea patrol conducted by the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (SBS) off Lagos Fairway buoy in May.
“On sighting the patrol boat, the suspects jumped into a speed boat and sped off, though the suspects are at large, efforts are being made to apprehend them.
“However, investigation reveal that the boat, loaded with 463 large sacks of compressed marijuana is worth more than N500 million in the local market amongst other items.
“The hard drugs will be handed over to the NDLEA inline with extant regulations for the arrest and handover of suspects and evidence to appropriate agencies,” he said.
The Commander said that the prevention of large quantity of hard drugs from entering the society would help to reduce drug intake that lead youths toward committing crimes in the society.
“The seizure has also deprived the owners of the contraband the funds to sustain their operations,” he said.
Haruna said that the Nigerian Navy under the leadership of Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo maintained zero tolerance to maritime crime and criminalities.
“We will not relent in our drive to rid the nation’s maritime space of all illegalities such as drug trafficking and oil theft among others.
“I commend the patrol teams for their commitment and loyalty in living up to the assigned responsibilities of the Western Naval Command,” he said.
In the same vein, Uzah, said that the Nigerian Navy was one of the agencies of government in collaboration with the NDLEA, supporting the war against transnational crime.
Uzah, also NDLEA’s Marine Commander, said that the Navy was living up to expectations specifically with the agency in spite of the numerous challenges of the maritime domain.
“In January alone, the Navy made massive arrest and seizure, handing over 529 bags of cannabis to the NDLEA and they have seized 463 bags of cannabis again.
“The Nigerian Navy has been complementing the effort of the NDLEA under the leadership of Gen. Mohammed Marwa, who has launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA),” he said.
Uzah also said that the Navy recently handed over two gun boats to the NDLEA which had increased their capabilities and enriched their understanding of the maritime environment.
“This will make us have a wide reach in the sea thereby contributing more to the arrest and seizure of contrabands in the country.
“Also, the Nigerian Navy has helped in training our personnel to man these boats as well as the communication and electronic aspect of operating in the maritime domain,” he said.
Uzah said that there was no heinous crime in the society that did not have drugs as its oxygen because most times, drugs was responsible for crimes in the society.
“So, the contribution of the Nigerian Navy in curbing the trafficking and proliferation of drugs is massive towards the reduction of crime and criminalities in the society,” he said.