The National Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) of Ghana has destroyed GH₵50 million worth of cannabis – the largest quantity seized since the start of 2021. This significant confiscation is evidence of the nation’s strong commitment to curbing its illegal trade and use, as well as a sign of readiness for when or if it ever decides to legalize it.
In an interview with Accra based Citi FM, Francis Opoku Amoah, Public Affairs Director of NACOC said that this large-scale interception was possible through operations conducted by both military personnel and law enforcement officers working in tandem with other security agencies such as the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI). The drugs had been smuggled into Ghana from other West African countries and were in the process of being smuggled to both local and overseas destinations.
This interception is a major win for NACOC, as it reinforces their efforts in curbing illicit activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling, and sale. It also serves to send a strong message to illegal traders that their goods will be confiscated should they attempt to move them into Ghana or any neighbouring state. Furthermore, this seizure supports the government’s stance against drug abuse which continues to be an issue with rising numbers of deaths due to overdoses each year.
The Ministry for Health has recently implemented several public health initiatives designed to educate people on the risks associated with the use of drugs such as cannabis and other narcotics. These include the “Say No to Drugs” campaign which focuses on providing young people with the right information and knowledge on the dangers of drug use, as well as offering support to those who are struggling with addiction.
The public affairs director also highlighted that NACOC has been focusing its efforts on curbing the trade in illicit drugs within Ghana and across its borders since early 2019. This includes increased surveillance, undercover operations and intelligence-led policing all of which have helped NACOC remain one step ahead of smugglers and traffickers. Furthermore, these initiatives have allowed for greater collaboration between law enforcement agencies both within Ghana and internationally in order to ensure a unified approach to tackling this international problem.
In addition to this GH₵50m worth of cannabis, NACOC has also intercepted other drugs such as heroin and cocaine. These efforts have resulted in thousands of arrests and the seizure of millions worth of illicit narcotics. This shows just how serious the government is taking this problem and how extensive their operations are to clamp down on drug trafficking. It’s clear from these seizures that individuals involved in this trade are risking a great deal for relatively small returns, with the majority of the profits going towards organized crime syndicates outside Ghana.
Moreover, since NACOC began operations it has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to drug use and misuse within Ghana. The public affairs director noted that while they understand that there is a growing debate surrounding the legalization of certain substances such as cannabis, their primary focus is on ensuring that the law against drug trafficking and use is enforced until such a time as Ghana is ready to legalize it.
To achieve this, NACOC has invested significantly in their efforts to intercept drugs being trafficked into the country. With modern surveillance systems and dedicated teams of personnel monitoring all major entry points, they are able to detect suspicious packages or vehicles more quickly than ever before. This also allows them to act swiftly when necessary; as was seen with the recent seizure of GH₵50m worth of cannabis near Elubo in the Western Region. The NACOC team intercepted two vans carrying 396 bales of compressed cannabis weighing 705kgs total.