By Kucha Jeremiah, Abuja
Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has warned owners/operators of supermarkets and confectionaries to rid their stores of drug cookies, biscuits and other products laced with illicit substances.
In a statement yesterday, the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Femi Babafemi said Marwa gave the warning while receiving further briefing on follow up operations from the Commander, FCT Command of the Agency, Mohammed Malami Sokoto over the 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.
According to the NDLEA boss, “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 school children, 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 said.
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”.
“Anti-narcotics agents with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) command of the NDLEA had last weekend uncovered a syndicate involved in producing the cookies with Arizona, a highly psychoactive variant of cannabis; alcohol and rohypnol among other ingredients.
“Their lid was blown open following the arrest of Rhoda Agboje with four pieces of the drug cookies on Sunday, 18th April, 2021.
“She was arrested at the NNPC Cooperative estate, opposite Gaduwa estate in Abuja based on a complaint that she gave an unsuspecting young girl the cookies to eat. After eating the drug cookies, the girl lost her mind and could not sleep, making incoherent utterances due to the effects of the cookies.
“Under interrogation, the prime suspect, Rhoda confessed she prepares the cookies with a friend and sells each pack of three pieces at N1,500.
“A follow up operation in her boyfriend’s house led to the recovery of over 200 pieces of the drug cookies. The suspect also said she supplies some supermarkets and clubs in the FCT.”
Meanwhile, the Emir of Keffi, Dr. Shehu Chindo-Yamusa III, has asked NDLEA 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 Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Gen. Marwa on Thursday at the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
He commended the anti-narcotics boss 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.
“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 FCT.”
In his response, Gen. Marwa commended the Emir for his support to the crusade against drug abuse and assured him of NDLEA’s preparedness to work with him to rid his emirate of the drug scourge.