Drugs, Driving Boko Haram Activities, Says Shettima
..Urges Fleeing Elders to Return
SAN FRANCISCO, June 26, (THEWILL) – Indications have emerged that members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect act under the influence of hard drugs to unleash terror on their victims.
The porous nature of the border of some of the North-eastern states with neighbouring countries have also turned the states into havens for illicit arm trade and drug trafficking and invariably becoming the supply routes for the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who disclosed this on Wednesday, while inaugurating the state Anti Drugs Control Committee to compliment the efforts of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on kicking drugs out of the state, said the need had therefore arisen to cut off the drug supply to the insurgents.
The disclosure came on a day the governor called on Borno elders who flee to Abuja with their families for fear of Boko Haram to return to the state and help government in resolving the crisis.
Shettima made the call while receiving relief materials meant for the victims of Boko Haram donated by the Borno Elders Forum and the Kanem Borno Historical and Cultural Foundation.
He told Ambassador Gaji Galtimari who brought the relief materials on behalf of the group that he is one of the Borno elders who did not run away but there are some of them who had left the state with all the members of their families and settle in Abuja, where they are busy granting interviews on issues happening in the state on the pages of newspapers.
He said, as statesmen, they have the obligation to return home to Borno and join hands with government in order to invest in the future of the state and benefit from the glory.
The inauguration of the 10-member committee also coincided with this year’s International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Shettima, who lamented that recent confrontation between the military and the insurgents have shown that they piled up hard drugs in their camps and were always on drugs before launching any attack, said aside the second world war, nothing consumed more human lives than drugs , stressing that drug abuse is worse than cancer and HIV/AIDS.
He disclosed that whoever is under the influence of drugs can commit heinous crimes such as rape, murder, robbery and sometimes even commit suicide, because the drugs control such person , adding that drugs are like forbidden fruits and once tested, it becomes difficult to resist.
Lamenting that Nigeria had become a transit for drug traffickers, he noted that Borno State bordering Chad , Niger Republic and Cameroon is now considered a gateway for drug trafficking to other African countries and Europe .
Shettima said the 10-member committee is to compliment the efforts of the NDLEA in curbing crime in the state and has been saddled with the task of monitoring the activities of drugs vendors in the state; enlighten the youths on the dangers of drugs abuse; prevent the proliferation of hard drugs in the state; identify and punish any pharmaceutical store that sell hard drugs, among others.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Borno State Commander of NDLEA, Barrister Ona Ogilegwu , disclosed that from January to June, the agency arrested 45 hard drugs’ dealers, peddlers and users just as it seized 561,291 kilogrammes of hard drugs with 11 of those arrested convicted and sentenced to various jail terms. Others , according to him, are still awaiting trail at the Federal High Court, Maiduguri.
He said the command offers referral counseling and rehabilitation services to 61 clients brought in from various sources in the state and other arrested drug users, stressing that the command is making efforts to partner with state ministry of education to infused drug abuse education in the relevant subjects.
In his response, the chairman of the committee, who is also the state Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General , Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, expressed gratitude to the governor for the confidence reposed in them, promising that they won’t let the governor down.
He assured the committee will strictly adhere to the terms of reference and the provision of the NDLEA Act so as not to infringe on the right of others as spelt out in the Constitution .