Goa, an Indian state on the southwestern coast of the country, within the Konkan region, says it has deported about 650 Nigerians allegedly involved in the drug trade since 2019.
The state Chief Minister Pramod Sawant who disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking to reporters at the Goa Police headquarters in Panaji, said of the 700 Nigerians staying there, only 50 were left and they could be deported in order to control drug trafficking, Deccanherald reports.
“Earlier 700 Nigerians were staying illegally, now only 50 are remaining. We could deport them. The Anti-Narcotics Cell is working on the best way to control drug trafficking,” the chief minister said.
“The nation should be drug-free. To ensure zero tolerance of drugs in India, we should work as a team. The home ministry has taken note of Goa’s detention centre and has told other states to create similar ones for foreigners, the way we do,” he said.
The state’s only detention centre is in Mapusa in North Goa, where foreigners involved in crimes, or caught for overstaying illegally, are housed until their deportation papers are processed.
Discussing the drug trade in the state, Sawant said that most of the narcotics are brought into Goa by migrants.
“Labour category persons bring drugs like ganja and charas, among others by buses and trains. International tourists also bring drugs. To crack down on this, the government has taken steps. Last year, 161 cases were registered in this matter,” he said.
According to official numbers, from 2018 up until 2020 just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, a drug raid was reported every second day in Goa, with ganja or marijuana accounting for the most common drugs seized during such busts.
Nigerians topped the category of foreign nationals caught in drugs- and narcotics-related offences in the state.