In an interview with This Day Live, Hamza Umar, the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in charge of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, talks about the improvements in the fight against drug trafficking.
On arrests made just in 2014: “Yes, what I am going to tell you would shock Nigerians, because it is not a good omen something worth celebrating. If you are fighting a war and you see people committing the same crime and you will begin to ask yourself, what is the problem? What happened? But you will be surprised from January to date at this particular airport; we have impounded more than 400.26 kg of hard drugs. The breakdown shows 97.02 kg of cocaine, 51.01 kg of heroin, 95.77kg of cannabis.
But the highest drug that is very new in part of Africa is methamphetamine. It is a new drug being produced here in Nigeria and in other West African countries. And its price is twice or thrice more than cocaine. So, you can see what is attracting them to it. And they carry this substance mostly to Asia and Pacific and they don’t take it to Europe or America. December has just begun but we have removed out of circulation 400.6kg of hard drugs in this Airport. When I mean by hard drugs, I mean class ‘A’ in United Nations classified hard drugs.”
Speaking on new methods, devised by individuals in trafficking drugs, Hamza Umar said,
“They do a lot of methods. One is concealment, as you know. Two, they do ingestion. Three, they do what we call insertion. This insertion is what they hide in private parts, while some put them in their anus. They also, conceal it in their hair, wigs or fake breasts. You will see a lady and you will say this one is blessed, but there is no blessing in that and instead, it is a concealment method.
Don’t you think your officers and men are compromising by taking bribes in the course of their duties?
Well, if I tell you that, I am not being objective. For me to stand up and tell you that none of the officers and men takes bribes, but we have few cases and they are very negligible. We have an internal procedure for disciplining our officers and men who err. You should be aware recently how an officer was convicted for seven years. I would not and would never, but I want to say that I have 100 percent control over my officers and men. And we have established procedures to deal with such cases.”