As the West African region is increasingly becoming a hub for illegal drug trade, the Director General of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG), Alhaji Bakary Gassama, is calling on Gambians to join hands and vigorously fight drug trafficking. Domestic and international drug trafficking are posing a real threat to the country’s development efforts, destroying many societies.
“We must therefore join hands in combating those trading in these illicit substances in our communities,” DLEAG Director General told participants at a one-day sensitisation workshop held on Tuesday at TANGO hall, Kanifing, some 7 km away from Banjul.
Jointly organised by DLEAG and Journalists Against Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime (JAIDTOC), the sensitisation seminar brought together reporters from various media outlets and a good number of law enforcement officers.
He deplored the fact that under the new democratic dispensation, many people are with the view that democracy grants a license to every citizen to do whatever to do whatever you want to do.
“Operatives and law enforcement officers are usually obstructed in the due execution of their duties by people nescient about the law,” Gassama voiced out. “Some feel that it is their right to openly abuse drug or act in contravention of the laws of this land.”
DLEAG Director General made it clear that such behaviour will not be accepted, adding that perpetrators will face the full force of the law.
Gassama seized the opportunity to call on media practitioners to continue fulfilling their duty to inform and educate the masses, especially the youths. He then lauded the move taken by the initiators of JAIDTOC for coming up with an organisation aimed at taking a leading role in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime.
“Drugs know no boundary of one’s race, tribe, occupation and political or religious affiliation. It is like a bullet fired from a rifle, it destroys everything in its part and does not separate the innocent from the guilty,” he warned.
He reiterated his call for journalists and law enforcement officers to work together in order to spread the message about the devastating effects of illicit drug trafficking.
Deputising for Sheriff Bojang Jnr, the Vice-President of Gambia Press Union (GPU), Mustapha K. Darboe challenged the media how often they report on the growing menace of drug trafficking.
Deputising for Gambia Press Union (GPU) President, Mustapha K.Darboe, the second-in-command of the country’s press body, challenged journalists on how frequent they file stories on drug trafficking.
Darboe expressed hope that after the sensitisation workshop everybody will be ‘energised’ to write about drugs related issues and organised crime.
GPU urged journalists to desist from relying exclusively on arrests made by anti-narcotic bodies for their news stories.
He said the mainstream media reporters should prioritise undercover reportings that could lead to big drug busts…
Darboe reiterated GPU readiness to work with JAIDTOC to achieve these goals including access to information.
In recent years, Latin American drug cartels have been ferrying cocaine to West Africa’s coastline. The seizure in 2010 of two tons of cocaine by law enforcement bodies is illustrative of a menace that continues to hang over the region.
JAIDTOC President Momodou Kanteh reminded the gathering that the association is registered with the Attorney General’s Chambers as a charitable organisation.
However, he outlined the general membership resolve to join the fight against illegal drug trade and organised crime in order to cut down their negative impacts on our communities.