By Adedapo Adesanya Illicit drugs worth N75 billion have been seized within the first three months of the year by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). Chairman of the agency, Mr Buba Marwa, made this disclosure when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, at the Radio House in Abuja, on Thursday. In a statement signed by the Minister's aide, Mr Segun Adeyemi, the NDLEA chief explained that more than 2,000 suspected drug traffickers have been arrested in various parts of the country in the period under review with over 300 convictions secured during the same time frame. Mr Marwa decried that drug abuse has assumed an alarming proportion in Nigeria, saying there were about 15 million drug users between the age bracket of 15 and 64 \u2013 25 per cent of whom were females. He noted that NDLEA operatives arrested two traffickers from the Niger Republic and Chad, who confessed to supplying illicit drugs to bandits. The NDLEA boss sought the collaboration of the information ministry and its agencies to launch a nationwide public sensitisation on drug demand reduction drive, through advocacy programmes in the media in order to curb drug abuse in the country. On his part, the Minister gave an assurance that his ministry would collaborate with the NDLEA to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and illicit use of drugs in the country. \u201cThe Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will work with you to give maximum publicity to your activities, especially in the area of advocacy,\u201d he assured. Mr Mohammed added, \u201cTo date, we have launched a number of national campaigns. It will not be a bad idea for the ministry, working with the NDLEA, to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and the use of illicit drugs. \u201cI will also encourage the NDLEA to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which has set up Integrity Clubs in secondary schools nationwide, to reach the young ones with its campaign against drug use.\u201d According to him, the war against illicit drugs and tackling drug trafficking is one of the most important tasks in Nigeria, considering that drug trafficking, money laundering by traffickers, and the use of illicit drugs are closely linked to the nation\u2019s security, the well-being of the citizens, the moral fabric of the society, and even governance. \u201cIt is common knowledge that drug money can be used to finance insurgency and terrorism. A successful fight against drug trafficking will, therefore, help to deny or reduce funding for the insurgency. \u201cThe kind of vicious banditry and kidnapping for ransom that our country has witnessed in recent times cannot be totally separated from illicit drug use and their effects on users who take to crime,\u201d said the Minister. He commended the NDLEA Chairman for recording impressive achievements in less than three months of his appointment, particularly in restoring the visibility of the agency for local and international partnerships.