‘90 percent of inmates at Mile II are drug convicts’
The public relations officer of the National Drugs Enforcement Agency (NDEA) has disclosed that 90% of those at remand and serving sentences at Mile II are drug convicts or suspected individuals.
Modou Jobe made the disclosure Wednesday at Bwiam, during a session with over 120 youngsters who formed the participants of this year’s summer youth camp, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
He urged the youngsters and children in general to be conscious of the strategies deployed by drug dealers in executing their ill schemes, pointing out that school-going children are now being targeted. “The dealers believe no one will suspect or search the students,” he noted.
Jobe further advised the children to choose good friends and to distance themselves from drugs. He enjoined the campers to take their education seriously in order to become successful and prosperous future leaders.
Addressing the children on the menace and devastation cause by drugs, the assistant PRO of the NDEA, Ousman Saidyba, said he was very much happy to be part of the session to discuss an issue that has been destroying many lives. He advised the children to desist from it, as there is nothing good about it.
Assistant PRO Saidyba informed the campers that the NDEA is the lead security outfit in the fight against drugs in the country. “It used to be called Drug Squad when it was a unit under the Gambia Police Force. The NDEA was set-up in 2005 as an autonomous security outfit responsible for the implementation of the Drug Control Act,” he enlightened.
The Agency’s mission, he expounded further, is to prevent drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in The Gambia through education and sensitisation and to enforce the Drug Control Act.
He lamented that the hazardous effects of drugs are not hidden, making reference to the fact that families have been destroyed, with some losing their jobs and lives, whilst others have gone insane.
“It is a global problem and there is no continent in this world that can boast to have totally eradicated it. But we believe that programmes of this nature will go a long way towards having a well-informed citizenry,” he opined.
Assistant PRO Saidyba stressed that each and every member of the society has a role to play towards addressing the issue of drug abuse. “When that happens, we will create a very safe and sound environment for the cream of the country,” he said, referring to the youth.
Sharing some statistics with the campers, Saidyba disclosed that between 2010 and 2012, a total of 1161 people were arrested with drugs, out of which 243 were between the ages of 13 and 19.
“This figure is very alarming because the government is doing a lot towards creating that environment for the youth in terms of education and for them to realize their potentials. But looking at this figure, it is a cause for concern,” he decried.
As to some of the reason (s) why some of the youth turn to drugs, Assistant PRO Saidyba attributed the menace to peer influence and the mentality that it makes you a better person.
“Do not look up to drug dealers as role models, because they are not living at peace,” he cautioned, while encouraging the participants to disseminate the knowledge they would have learnt at the end of the session to their peers who are not fortunate to take part in the summer camp.