The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) decided to burn the N194 billion worth of cocaine it recovered from a drug ring in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, and the Federal Government has justified the action.
According to Pulse, on September 18, 2022, NDLEA agents stormed a warehouse in Solebo Estate, Ikorodu, where they discovered 1.8 tons (1,855 kilogrammes) of illegal substances and detained four drug lords, including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager.
According to the NDLEA, the street value of the cocaine was estimated to be one hundred and ninety-four billion, seven hundred and seventy-five million (N194, 775,000,000) naira, or around two hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($278, 250,000).
However, on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, the anti-narcotics agency made videos and photos of a scene where the discovered drugs were being burned.
Some Nigerians expressed concern over the action and felt that the illegal narcotics should have been kept as evidence against the offenders who had been apprehended.
Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, responded to the incident by explaining that the substance needed to be destroyed because it had no economic potential.
On September 28, 2022, immediately following the weekly Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, he made this statement in a speech to State House reporters.
Malami disclosed that the majority of the narcotics were burned since the government was unable to find a lawful purpose for them, despite the fact that a tiny percentage of them were kept as court evidence.
“They were burnt because we are not drug dealers, our obligation is to ensure that they are eliminated and stopped from circulating in the system. There should be evidence and the evidence are there, accordingly profiled before being destroyed.”
“Even the Chairman mentioned it, they retained a little to us in court, but destroyed most of it and was witnessed by the people that carried it. It was also in the news that was carried.
“Most of it was destroyed and I think somebody was saying why should they destroy something worth N194b, but if the government were to start trading that, we’ll become drug dealers as well. We cannot derive an economic benefit from it, but to destroy it, because you don’t want drugs circulating.”
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