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NDEA destroys seized drugs

Nov 29, 2010, 11:24 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) Friday embarked on a massive public drug destruction exercise in a bid to show its continuing commitment in the fight against illicit drugs in the country.

The exercise was held at the Old Cape Road along Cape Point in the presence of diplomats, law enforcement officers, local authorities and NDEA staff, and saw the destruction of 1 tonne, 113 kilograms, 255 grams of cannabis sativa and 1 kilogram, 280 grams of cocaine.

Prior to the destruction, NDEA officials tested the drugs to prove to the public that these were the true drugs seized from people tried in the courts, and ordered for destruction.

After the confirmation, NDEA officials and their guests poured petrol on the drugs and set them on fire.

Speaking on the occasion,  NDEA Executive Director Benedict Jammeh described the day as an historic moment for his agency.

"It is historic, because it once again shows the public that the NDEA is serious about its fight against drugs in every corner of this country, and jealously guards His Excellency, the President's voice of wisdom: 'zero tolerance to drugs and corruption'," he said. 

He stressed that the drugs destroyed were all found within The Gambia, and seized from Gambians and non-citizens.

The NDEA boss emphasised that it is "evident that drugs are here and will continue to be around if concerted efforts are not taken to combat users and traffickers".

The NDEA, he added, is equally determined to fight illicit drugs in all forms, and "our optimism is boosted by the fact that we are fully supported by the President".

Mr. Jammeh implored all and sundry to help them in their crusade against drugs, adding that "one does not have to be a narcotics officer to report drug cases in the communities".

Alhaji Demba Sanyang the Paramount Chief of the Gambia applauded NDEA for the transparency manifested. He assured the agency of the cooperation of the local authorities in fighting drugs.

Rex King, Chairman of the NDEA board, said the drugs destroyed were properly dealt with by courts and appropriate actions were taken against the culprits.

He reaffirmed the agency's commitment in making the country free from drugs.

Mr. King also encouraged the public to be vigilant, and to report any suspected drug case to the NDEA. 

"The primary aim of this destruction is to clear fears of the public as to what happens to the drugs from the courts," he stated. 

Meanwhile, shortly after the destruction, this paper sounded the opinion of some dignitaries at the scene.

Madam Lourdes Perez, ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, said drugs are very bad for human health and was pleased to witness the event.

"To be a drug addict is another form of slavery to the benefit of the traffickers. And if you are an addict, you would no longer be responsible even to your family," she said.

She noted that, "the destruction confirmed that the Gambian government is working hard in combating drugs, and we are pleased to be associated with today's event".

A representative of the Taiwanese embassy said "We are happy to see your government destroy these drugs. It shows her determination in fighting drugs. You may recall that recently we brought four officers from Taiwan to train NDEA officers. So it is good to see that the training is worthy."

Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates' Court also presiding at the narcotics court in Banjul said, "This is the first time I'm attending this kind of event, even though I sit on drug cases in court."

He said that the manner in which the drugs were destroyed was so transparent, adding that he feels "very satisfied". "I have never seen this in my jurisdiction in Cameroon," he declared.

Nkea added that, "we can now see what was actually collected from courts are being destroyed, and not recycled".

ASP Abdoulie Ceesay, Public Relations Officer at the NDEA, who moderated the event, said the amount of drugs seized is more than what was destroyed, and that the remaining drugs are yet to be cleared by the courts.