The recent elevation of over 3000 staffers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) by management of the Agency under the leadership of its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) is glaringly illustrative of the Biblical saying that where there is a godly king, the people rejoice.
Since his assumption of office about four months ago at NDLEA, Marwa has not disappointed anyone who knew his antecedent as the Military Administrator of Lagos State over two decades ago. During his days at the helm of affairs in Lagos, he had carried himself with such a passion for excellence that he was unarguably seen as a model for other state military administrators.
He obviously possesses some magic wand that always turns things around in the positive wherever he finds himself. With no intentions to disparage his immediate predecessor at NDLEA, one would not be wrong to argue that the agency was almost becoming moribund with so much inactivity that almost made it imperative for concerned Nigerians to call for its scrapping.
The Agency’s office at Shaw Road, Ikoyi which used to be the headquarters was more of a ghost yard before Marwa’s appointment in spite of the fact that Lagos is one of the hottest destinations or transit points for illicit drug business in Nigeria. Shaw Road office used be a beehive of activities.
The appointment of Marwa has since brought some life back to the Agency as members of staff now see some prospects in their career as drug fighters. What else could have led to the stagnation of thousands of personnel in their ranks if not incompetent leadership?
It did not take General Marwa some knowledge of rocket science to understand that one of the factors impeding the operational efficiency and commitment of personnel is lack of motivation. When he assumed office, he was about acting like a slave driver by putting the staffers on their toes in order to deliver on the mandate of ridding the country of illicit drug business, but he was not unmindful of the fact that no farmer plants cassava and expects to harvest yam. He needed the best from his workers and was prepared to give them the best in terms of elevating them appropriately.
Little wonder Marwa’s leadership of the Agency in the last 100 days has yielded tremendous positive result that tend to make infinitesimal whatever achievements the Agency had made in previous years. Some samplers will clearly show that more quantities of illicit drugs with higher street values have been intercepted with their couriers arrested in the last three to four months.
In May, 2021, NDLEA operatives arrested a drug kingpin in Lagos with Cocaine that has street value of N8billion. The Brazil based courier was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport by NDLEA operatives who seized 36 blocks of Cocaine weighing 27.95kilogrammes. The operatives buoyed by the motivational posturing of the Chief Executive Officer, Marwa, had also recovered from the drug trafficker the sum of $24,500 offered as bribe to officials so that they could jeopardize investigation. The drug Lord Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku who led the syndicate was eventually arrested at the airport on Friday 14th May, 2021.
Late May, 2021 operatives of the Agency arrested ten online drug traffickers and seized 107 kilogramme of cocaine. A lead trafficker 28-year-old Ese Patrick was merchandising the illicit substances through her Instagram platform before she was tracked.
In April, 2021 under General Marwa’s watch, NDLEA operatives arrested two drug traffickers with N264million worth of cocaine in Abuja. A trans-border trafficker Emeka Okoro and another dealer Ibrahim Bello were arrested at Abuja airport by NDLEA officials with the 1.1kilogramme of cocaine.
Same April, what could have passed for a mere decorative gift item – a plastic statue of the Biblical Blessed Virgin Mary, was intercepted by some eagle-eyed NDLEA operatives who through the encouragement of Marwa had subjected the statue to intense scrutiny. The result was a discovery of 337.7kg illicit substances stuffed in it. The statue was used as container to ferret the drug to Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
As if April, 2021 was a cursed month for traffickers, NDLEA operatives on offensive, nabbed a drug baron in Abia with 100 kilogramme cocaine. The baron Chibuike Apolos was arrested in his hideout at Mbausi in Isialangwu North area of the state.
In the same April, 2021 a most wanted drug baron in Nasarawa State Sami Ashoko was arrested by NDLEA during the Easter celebration. Drug weighing 1,095.3kg was seized in 100 bags. Another cartel members were arrested at Iyamho in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State and the drugs weighing 1330kg meant for Bauchi State was seized.
In the first week of April, operatives of NDLEA arrested Goodluck Igbineweka Odeh at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja with 2kilogramme of heroine with street value of N564million concealed in the lining of false bottom of his suitcase.
Due to the cooperation of Marwa’s leadership of NDLEA with sister security agencies, late March, 2021 the Seme Border Command of Nigerian Customs Service helped to intercept 232 parcels of Cannabis Sativa along the beach line.
In all of this, one thing stands clear and that is the fact that General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) has some midas touch and magic wand that serve as his compass where ever he goes and remains a model for those in the corridors.
His ability to manage the meagre resources of the Agency by revamping some necessary tools like abandoned operational vehicles and elevating members of staff to earn higher wages and restore some socio economic dignity in their lives remains legendary as some other persons in his shoes would have found excuses in inadequate funding of the Agency.
As Marwa repositions the Agency further in the days ahead, what he needs from every Nigerian is cooperation and collaboration as drug traffickers live in our midst as friends, relations, colleagues and so on. When we see something, we should be able to say something.