• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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NDLEA in three years: More kudos for Marwa

NDLEA in three years: More kudos for Marwa

“Nobody in his right sense will take up arms to kidnap, rape and kill innocent people. Therefore, if we are able to tackle the issue of drug abuse, most of the security challenges the nation is facing now would have been solved.”

-Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, February, 2021)

My dear reader, let us consider these heady headlines: “90% of criminalities in Nigeria linked to drug abuse.” “15 million Nigerians use hard drugs”. “One in every six persons in Kano is a drug addict.” Thought-provoking, are they not? Yes, of course. But there is more to come, considering the steps to take to clip the widening wings of both drug trafficking and addiction to the various types as available to the users.

Interestingly, all these quotes are traced to one concerned Nigerian patriot, who incidentally is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd).

In fact, if there is one federal government agency raising the stakes high with regards to policy implementation, professionalism, processes, pro-activeness and probity, to meet its marching mandate, it is none other than the NDLEA. That is more so, as capably headed by Marwa over the past three fruitful years. Stated below is what he had to say at the end of 2023, on the agency’ achievements so far.

“With the dire consequences of the menace steering us in the face, upon my assumption of leadership in 2021, we have moved swiftly to halt the spiral turn of the situation and between then and end of 2023, we have been able to make over 48,157 arrests including 46 drug barons with a total of 8,350 already successfully prosecuted and convicted while 7,500 tons of illicit drugs were seized from them and 1,057 hectares of cannabis farms destroyed deep in the forests in parts of the country.”

Fast forward to April 2024 and the success story has kept improving. The agency says it has successfully prosecuted and convicted 9,034 of them as well as seized over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances in the last three years.

On 17th of April , 2024 it was widely reported that the NDLEA destroyed a total of 304,436kg of illicit drugs and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun states. This was made known by Marwa while speaking at a ceremony where the seized drugs were publicly destroyed in Badagry, Lagos State. He said the drugs were seized by the NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date, especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders. He also stated that the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs followed court orders.

It would be recalled that the NDLEA in February intercepted what it described as the single largest heroin consignment at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.

In addition, it reportedly arrested members of an organised criminal organisation which specialised in trafficking heroin across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America in an operation leading to the seizure of the consignment which weighed 51.90Kg

With these beautiful feathers added to Marwa’ s cap in particular and NDLEA at large there are pertinent questions to be answered by us all. For instance, if international bodies could openly support this Agency, what about us? But first, what are the health implications of drug abuse? What role should we as parents, guardians, teachers, religious and traditional leaders play towards preventing the menace from escalating beyond its current startling scale? What should we also do if drug abuse is already in place in our homes or schools, to curb and curtail its soaring beyond control? Answers to these are all-important.

Depending on the actual compound, drugs such as cannabis, opiates (such as heroin), cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants, ketamine hydrochloride, LSD, meth (methamphetamine) and alcohol if and when abused may lead to health challenges. These include seizures, stroke, lung disease, breast development in men and increases in body temperature. They result in mental confusion and brain damage. These could complicate problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult.

Eventually, these degenerate into social problems, morbidity, unprotected sex, violence and injuries. Other related issues include motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides, deaths, physical dependence or psychological addiction.

Good enough, NDLEA has put in place a strong mechanism to raise public awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. This, according to Marwa is being done through the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, a social advocacy campaign initiative. In addition, the agency provides treatment and counseling to hard drug abusers in commands across the country. Through this laudable initiative NDLEA has been able to counsel and treat over 29, 400 persons between 2021 and 2024. This is highly commendable.

With these sterling achievements it is inspiring that the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Malick Fall, and the United Nations Deputy Secretary, Amina Mohammed has pledged the support of the global body with its willingness to enhance the impact of the significant efforts of the Agency. That was when she paid a courtesy visit to the Marwa.

Similarly, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jonny Baxter, has assured the agency of continued support to the NDLEA and Nigeria. He said: “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.”

It is important for us to understand that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is a federal law enforcement Agency established by Decree No. 48 of 29th December 1989 under the Federal Ministry of Justice. It is charged with eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, and trafficking of hard drugs.

The NDLEA is present in international airports, seaports, and border crossings. The NDLEA also targets the leaders of narcotics and money laundering organizations.

As rightly noted by Marwa drug abuse has assumed the level of destroying our families. It should therefore, be tackled with all the seriousness it deserves. We cannot fold our arms and allow this country to be destroyed by criminalities, propelled by hard drugs-through its trafficking and abuse. All those involved in the criminal acts of drug trafficking and abuse should be fished out and punished.

In all of these significant issues, the lesson for all of us is to understand that NDLEA cannot do it all on its own. Our support is needed. Let us help NDLEA to help us. And that is because as rightly noted by Donald Lyn Frost: “Drugs take you to the hell disguised as heaven.”