BY Louise Jobe
Thursday 20th April 2017 the Gambia Drug Law Enforcement Agency engaged in the destruction of 1ton 940kg 500g of Cannabis Sativa.
The Director General Alhagie Bakary Gassama and Ousman Saidybah the PRO of Drug Enforcement Agency chaired the program. Alhagie Bakary Gassama in his speech said that the drugs seized are not recycled in the market but destroyed.
While admitting that the fight against drugs is both complex and challenging he expressed their determination to strengthen actions and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug trafficking and abuse.
He explained that West Africa is a key transit point in the global narcotic trade resulting in a growing local market. “Cannabis remains the most commonly abused drug in the Gambia. Cocaine and heroin are seemingly new phenomenon but with greater harmful consequences to our youth. There are signs of the presence of Methamphetamine, a drug manufactured in clandestine laboratories but of a more deadly consequence,” he revealed.
In the first quarter of 2017, the Agency has registered a record seizure of large quantity of various types of drugs;
- 503kg 266g 385mg of Cannabis,
- 495g 161mg of Hashish
- 50g 909mg of Cocaine
- 24 tablets of Diazepam
- 57 tablets of Bromazepam and
- 10 tablets of Lormetazepam
He emphasized that the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health, the safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and the national security and sovereignty of States. It also undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development.
He opined that the violent conflicts, civil unrest, poverty, unemployment and diseases that plague Africa aid drug dealers to always capitalize on the situations to violate the potentials of African youth by introducing them into the drug trade.
He called on the public to rally behind them in their noble campaign, noting that one does not have to be a narcotic officer to report drug dealers.
The director revealed that the Agency is currently developing the first ever five year National Drug Control Strategy which will overhaul the Drug Control Act to align it to international standards and best practices is also in progress.
Honorable Minister Ahmed Mai Fatty in his remark said that In The Gambia, the number of youth indulging in drug abuse is on the increase, adding drugs has serious negative impact on the lives of our youths.
“It is time for us to say ‘NO’ to illicit drugs, it is time for us to work on our future, and it is time for us to face the challenge with all our ability and strength to prove to the world that we can win the war on drugs,” he said.
He emphasised that The Gambia under the new dispensation cannot be a safe haven for drug traffickers and abusers.
The minister revealed that “all the drugs we are about to destroy today are exhibits of cases that have been successfully dealt with at the narcotic courts. He added, “These exhibits were kept in safe storage facilities under the watchful eyes of the Narcotic courts prior to their weighment and transportation to this destruction site.“