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Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 17:34 UK

Nigeria seizes 80 tonnes of drugs

By Fidelis Mbah
BBC News, Lagos

Marijuana leaves
The seized cannabis had an estimated street value of $1.2m

Nigeria's National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized 80 metric tonnes of cannabis in one of its largest ever hauls, officials say.

The drugs were seized by NDLEA agents in a single raid in the south-western city of Ibadan, following a tip-off from other security agencies.

The drugs were loaded into a bullion van, a truck and a car ready for supply to a residential area in the city.

The seized cannabis had an estimated local street value of $1.2m.

Ekaete Egwunwoke, the NDLEA's commander in Oyo state, of which Ibadan is the capital, said his organisation had also discovered two illegal warehouses used by the drug syndicate for the storage of cannabis.

Open drug-use

Eight suspected drug dealers have already been arrested in connection with the seizure of the cannabis.

A decade ago, Nigeria was one of the transit points for illicit drugs in West Africa but in recent years security agencies have stepped up their campaign in clamping down on the movement and sale of illegal drugs.

But although the government focused resources on the fight against the sale and use of illicit drugs in Nigeria, this has not stopped people from using drugs.

Cannabis is still being smoked openly by youths, sometimes on public streets.

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