The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a trailer loaded with 24,000 bottles of cough syrups containing codeine in Funtua local government area of Katsina State.
The NDLEA State Commandant, Hajiya Maryam Gambo Sani disclosed this during a press briefing to newsmen on Tuesday in Katsina.
She said that six persons were arrested in connection with the drug cargo. According to her, those arrested were the driver of the vehicle, his assistant and two conductors.
Sani said other people arrested were the manager of SUNGLOW EQUITY NIG LTD who is suspected to be owner of the drugs and the salesman of the company.
State governments north of Nigeria are generally suspicious of cough syrups containing codeine, as people buy abuse the codeine content, a kind of opiate like cocaine or heroin. Users get high on it, leading to many cases of drug addiction.
According to reports, many users actually buy it when they cannot afford more expensive drugs such as heroin (diamorphine) or other opiate/opioid drugs.
As an opiate, codeine is also used to treat pain and diarrhea. Internationally, codeine is not a banned drug.
The Katsina state government is yet to make a law banning the use of the drug and it is unclear under which law the NDLEA will prosecute the suspects.
The trailer was arrested by the NDLEA operatives at the company’s warehouse located in Dutsen-reme area.
Sani said that the trailer came from Onitsha.
She said that the suspects would be charged to court for prosecution.
Sani also said that 12 students of tertiary institutions in the state were arrested for drugs related offences.
The commandant said that the items seized from the students included 159 bottles of cough syrups with codeine, 160.6 grams of cannabis sativa and 50.7 grams of Rohypnol (Rochee).
She also said that a total of 186 persons were apprehended between January and March, 2018, for drugs related offences in the state.
Sani said that 57.8 kilograms of assorted hard drugs and 25,254 bottles of cough syrups with codeine were seized from the suspects.
She added that 8.4489 kilograms of psychotropic substances were seized from the suspects during the period under review.
Sani urged the public to continue to assist the command in its efforts of fight against drug abuse and trafficking.