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D1.9 million NDEA headquarters' inaugurated

Feb 22, 2011, 12:51 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs, Isatou Njie Saidy, on behalf of the President Saturday presided over the official opening of a D1.9 million new head office complex for the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) located at Kairaba Avenue.
Mrs Njie-Saidy read a statement on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh in which he reiterated his government's zero tolerance for drugs, noting that drugs are mankind’s enemy.

According to him, embarking on such a journey and mission is, without doubt, difficult and assiduous, but it is his firm conviction that “with a collective involvement of all Gambians, we will succeed in turning the tide in achieving a drug-free Gambia.

"The importance of providing this site to serve as NDEA's head office does not lie in the already expressed beauty of the building, nor is it provided for the mere sake of it. The importance lies rather in the fact that the building is as much a confirmation as it is a warning that the government of The Gambia is ardently resolved to used every possible means to fight drugs, and to prevent drugs taking root in this country," Jammeh said.

He noted that, in the past few years, "our part of the continent has become a hub for large scale production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs".

This, he added, is a worrisome development that requires the concerted collaboration of all at individual, community, national, regional and continental levels to curb the menace.

He stated that one does not need to go to know that drug is the number one catalyst when it comes to destroying life and property, and bringing families, communities, and nation's untold hardships, lasting pain and suffering.

In view of this, he went on, "we should all, therefore, approach the drugs issue from the perspective of mankind at risk of uselessness and extinction if our greatest enemy is allowed to take root. We should all regard the fight against illicit drugs as a genuine crusade in order to preserve human dignity and respect, as well as prevent the sanctity and quality of life from falling into sub-human standards."

He also called on the youths to be leading the fight against drugs while urging them to avoid lifestyles "that are destructive and which turn them to people living only skeletally as humans, but having the full semblance of lower animals without the sense to think and control of their own direction."

NDEA Executive Director Benedict Jammeh, speaking at the ceremony, said fighting drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking cannot be successful without the active involment and support of the communities.

He emphasized that the drugs they seize everyday are not seized from anywhere, but within the communities.

"Where do we seize them? Not from another country, not from the sky or sea. But in our streets, farmlands, gardens, car packs, markets, toilets, parlours, bedrooms, warehouses, factories, cars, buses," he noted.

According to the head of the NDEA, it is evident that the threats posed by drugs are real and persistent.

"It would, therefore, require positive collaboration and concerted efforts from every responsible person for the fight against drugs to be successful," he added.

The NDEA boss is also aware of the fact that the task ahead is huge, but noted that with the support of the public, the battle would be surely won so that the Gambia would be free from drugs menace.

Mayor Yankuba Colley of the Kanifing Municipality said that drugs, organized crime and corruption have all become a serious cause for concern for the government, and every effort is being made by government to curb them.

Rex King, chairman of the NDEA board, noted that the fight against drugs cannot be attained in isolation but require concerted efforts, adding that NDEA is committed in the fight against illicit drugs, and to build a drug-free Gambia.

The managing director of Swami India, the contractor of the refurbished building, Khimji Pindoriya, commended the government for awarding the contract to his company.