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Kilifi: Two arrested as NACADA officials seize 438 rolls of bhang

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) on Saturday evening nabbed two suspects with 438 rolls and brooms of suspected bhang in Kwa Goa village in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

This followed a sting operation mounted by NACADA officers after receiving a tip from members of the public to flash out drug barons and peddlers.

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NACADA chief executive officer Anthony Omerikwa who led the operation confirmed to the media that they had credible information that the substance suspected to be cannabis sativa had been ferried from Migori County saying that they were pursuing leads to apprehend the people behind it.

“What you see here are 438 rolls and assorted brooms of what we suspect to be cannabis sativa known as bhang. We are yet to certify it, we shall take it to the respective agencies to make sure that it is actually bhang,” said Omerikwa.

“We were able to apprehend two individuals, one we suspect is the seller or distributor, the other we assume is a consumer or conveyor because he had allegedly come to this establishment to buy a roll or two. We also apprehended his mode of convey, a motorbike that he came with,”

Omerikwa said that investigations have begun stating that the two suspects will be taken in for interrogations as the agency digs deep to get to the main supplier of the said substances.

He reiterated that the government’s stand on drugs remains the same, that illegal drugs should not be sold or used in any part of the country.

“The government is very clear on this, we will pursue these individuals to ensure individuals behind these menace of drugs have been reduced to significant levels,”

“What we have done here marks the beginning of the investigation process. For now these are suspects, but we will get to the bottom to know who the main supplier is,” Omerikwa said.

A 2022 report released by NACADA last September revealed that the use of bhang amongst Kenyans had almost doubled in the last five years indicating a 90 per cent increase in that period.

The report, ‘Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU) in Kenya 2022’ showed that one in every 53 Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years (518,807) are currently using cannabis, translating to a national prevalence of 1.9 per cent.

It further stated that of the mentioned figure, 475,770 were male while 43,037 were female.

The report put Nairobi, Nyanza and Coast as the leading regions that had the highest prevelance of current cannabis use in the country.

It showed that a total of 193,430 youth aged 14 – 24 years (one in every 37) were currently using cannabis, translating to 2.7 per cent prevalence.

“It is sad to note that the national outlook on the consumption of bhang in the last five years has gone up by 90 percent. Nearly one million Kenyans are using cannabis, that is one in every 53 people are using this drug,”

“We want to tell the people behind this business that we are here to stay, we will not relent. This is just the beginning of it, the ship has sailed, work has begun,” he said.

The NACADA CEO further called on members of the public to continue working closely with the authority in volunteering information to ensure that the drug menace is cleared in the country.

He emphasized the need to deploy a multi-agency approach to help combat the vice in the country.

“Every different sector has a role they play, politicians have a sensitization role, parents have a guidance role,and Nacada is the coordinator. We work with the police and we have a multiagency approach to this and all efforts are geared towards demand and supply reduction of drugs,” said Omerikwa.

Umar Masumbuko, a resident of the area lauded the raid saying that residents have for long suffered the menace of drugs in the area as children continue to dive into addiction.

Masumbuko said that his son, who he took to study abroad now suffers from mental health problems as a result of addiction to bhang.

“My son is a graduate of Birmingham University in London, he came back and got involved with peddlers around here who ruined his life,”

“I am happy with the raid today and I wish more of these take place here and across the county so that our children can be safe from this menace,” said Masumbuko.

Drug abuse, he said, continues to rob the country of its future as he called on President William Ruto to continue supporting agencies and security forces to end the vice.

Haniel Mengistu
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