Pastors now run drug, human trafficking rings – NDLEA

By Christopher Oji

As the world marked the International Day Against Drug and Human Trafficking last week, Commander/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Muhammad Abdallah, alleged that pastors were now involved in the illegal ‘trade.’

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), Abdallah said, after investigations, the agency has placed some church leaders under watch. 

Said he: “The way people are going into the business of (hard) drugs is becoming too embarrassing, to the extent that pastors and other religious leaders are involved. We have investigated many churches that run rings of drug traffickers. Some pastors are presently being investigated. Some of them hide the drugs in the roof of their churches and recruit church members for drug and human trafficking.

“Nigeria is now one of the countries that top the list in drug trafficking. What really went wrong that a country, which was one time a transit country for drug trafficking, is now being perceived as a manufacturing country? For example, Indian hemp, which was brought in by Nigerian soldiers who went to World War II for personal consumption, is now (grown) for commercial purposes. Nigerians now export Indian hemp.”

The NDLEA boss, who was represented by Mr. Kayode Adeyemi, said it was painful that Nigeria had been identified as a transit and destination point for drugs and human trafficking, “we arrested a total of 77,558 suspects for drug offences between 2015 and 2016. The business is thriving because it is lucrative. Drug business generates over N115.2 trillion annually. That is why families should be involved in the war against drugs. Government cannot do it alone.”

Former Police Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, said security agencies should look beyond people taken outside the country for prostitution and dig deeper by investigating some motherless babies’ homes.

Said he: “Baby factories are being operated by human trafficking syndicates. We need to investigate them properly, as some young girls are being used as baby machines, after which their employers sell the babies as slaves. These babies are being used for rituals, as sources of body parts harvesting or for slave labour. Their mothers are paid off. It has reached a worrisome dimension.”

A security expert, Tanwa Ashiru, CEO Bulwark Intelligence, expressed concern about changing the narratives of drugs and human trafficking in the country.

“We need to enlighten our youth and tell them the truth about the end result of drug and human trafficking. We need to tell them how many people are in remand homes after taking drugs. We need to tell them how many people have died on their way outside the country for prostitution,” he said. 

Earlier, chairman of the occasion and CEO, Halogen Security, Mr. Wale Olaoye, advocated for serious enlightenment by the NDLEA and the media on the dangers of drug and human trafficking.

“It is a serious business. We all have to fight it. We know that drug and human trafficking are global problems, but it is a shameful thing that the international community now sees Nigeria as notorious. We have to change the narratives,” he said.

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