Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd), said persisting influx of illicit tramadol into the country was a sad development.
Abdallah stated this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja signed by Mr Jonah Achema, Head of Public Affairs of NDLEA.
Describing the situation as “unfortunate’’ he said that the influx was an indication that Nigeria had become a country of choice for the illicit tramadol merchants.
Recalls that the agency had between Nov. 15 and Nov. 18, uncovered 581 million Tramadol tablets in 23 containers at the Apapa port in Lagos.
“Tramadol is a narcotic pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain and comes in approved threshold of 50 to 100 milligrams.
“The ones intercepted by the agency were from 120 to 250 milligrams making it obvious that the current influx of illicit tramadol is not for legitimate use,” Abdallah said.
He said that the recent seizures far outweighed the legitimate needs in the country, adding that it only suggested massive illicit use in the country.
He said that most Nigerians were shocked at the seizure of 102, 090.48 kilograms of tramadol between January 2017 and March 2018, compared to 58,804.67 kilograms of the same drug seized in 2016.
The chairman said that when the agency would be through with the operation, “almost a trillion tablets of the deadly tramadol would have been intercepted’’.
He said that the operational success by the agency was as a result of painstaking intelligence drive.
Abdallah noted that the tramadol crisis in the country and the entire West Africa had called for concern, adding that the agency had been gathering intelligence on the shipment of illicit drug into the country.
“NDLEA’s crackdown on the importation of illicit tramadol was as a result of pervasive abuse of the drug by the populace.
“Tramadol discovered so far are purely illicit in various dosages ranging from 120 to 250 milligrams and these are above the permissible threshold of 50 and 100 milligrams,“ he said.
He added that the incidence of abuse of psychotropic substances such as cough syrup with codeine, tramadol and diazepam was a miserable increase.
The NDLEA boss noted that most Nigerian families today were contending with the challenges of a drug dependent person.
He, therefore, said that as the fight against illicit tramadol continued, it was expected that all stakeholders would cooperate to bring “this illicit drug criminals to book for the interest of the nation’’.