Our Successes, Warning Signal To Drug Cartels, Kingpin – NDLEA Boss Marwa

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By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said that the arrest of 50,901 drug offenders, inclusive of 46 barons and the successful prosecution and conviction of 9,034 of them as well as the seizure of over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances in the past 38 months has sent the right message to drug cartels and their kingpins that Nigeria won’t tolerate their criminal activities.

Marwa stated this in Lagos on Monday 15th April 2024 in his remarks at the commissioning and handing over ceremony of an operational facility built and donated to NDLEA by the British government

While commending the donor for the generous support, Marwa stressed that it will further boost the capability of the anti-narcotic agency in tackling the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

This was contained in a release by the Director, Media & Advocacy of the Agency Mr. Femi Babafemi made available to journalists o Monday.

According to the NDLEA Boss, “We gather here not just to commission a new building complex but to celebrate a significant milestone in our ongoing fight against the scourge of licit and illicit drug trafficking. Today, we commission the newly acquired building, a project made possible through the generous support of the British Government.

“I must begin by expressing our deepest gratitude to the British Government, for their unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions to our cause. From the onset of our collaboration, the UK has been a steadfast ally in our relentless pursuit to neutralise transnational organised criminal activities, particularly in the realm of illicit drug production and trafficking.

“This building complex stands not only as a physical structure but as a symbol of the enduring partnership between our two nations in the global fight against drug trafficking. It represents the culmination of years of cooperation, mutual trust, and shared determination to combat one of the most pressing threats to our societies.

“The significance of this project cannot be overstated. It will serve as a vital hub for data analysis and strategic planning in our efforts to disrupt drug trafficking networks and apprehend those responsible. With state-of-the-art facilities and technology at our disposal, we are better equipped than ever before to tackle this complex and ever-evolving challenge head-on.

“But beyond the bricks and mortar, this building complex embodies the spirit of collaboration and solidarity that defines our partnership with the British Government. It is a testament to what can be achieved when nations come together with a shared purpose and a shared commitment to making our world a safer place for all.

“As an agency, NDLEA has undergone a tremendous reformation, with its metamorphosis catalysed by partners like the UK. Our operations have undergone substantial reforms, resulting in remarkable achievements within the last three years. 

“During this period, the NDLEA achieved significant milestones in its mission to combat drug trafficking and abuse. With a total of 50,901 arrests, including the apprehension of 46 drug barons, our agency has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to bringing those involved in illicit drug activities to justice. Furthermore, the conviction of 9,034 offenders underscores our relentless pursuit of accountability and deterrence in the fight against drug-related crimes.

“Our seizure of  7,560,748.5 kilograms (7,561 tonnes) not only disrupts the flow of illegal drugs but also serves as a significant blow to the criminal networks responsible for their distribution. We have taken decisive action against illicit drug crop cultivation with our search-and-destroy campaign against cannabis plantations which have led to the destruction of 1,057.33348 hectares of cannabis farms in the past three years.”

While acknowledging officials of the British government that facilitated the realisation of the project especially Mr. Dave Carter, the NDLEA boss called for the strengthening of the partnership between Nigeria and the UK.

 “As we stand on the threshold of a new chapter in our partnership, let us reaffirm our shared commitment to intensifying the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. Let us continue to work hand in hand, across borders and boundaries, to disrupt criminal networks, intercept illegal drugs, and bring to justice those who seek to profit from the illicit drug trade.”

Marwa stated that though so much has been achieved under his leadership of the agency, the battle against illicit drugs is far from over. “Let us redouble our efforts, with renewed vigour and determination, as we strive to build a safer, more secure future for generations to come”, he charged.

Speaking at the ceremony, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jonny Baxter  assured of continued support to NDLEA and Nigeria. According to him, “We, the UK government are delighted to have this long-standing relationship with the NDLEA and I’m in particular delighted to have been personally in a number of activities especially your maritime. This building makes a whole set of different actors and capabilities to address any criminal activity. 

“We’re delighted to continue our support for the NDLEA and the Nigerian government to tackle what is sadly a global industry, which needs a global response. I’ll like to join the chairman in affirming our continued support, our continued cooperation and indeed our continued pride in working together with ladies and gentlemen of this agency, the NDLEA.”

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