Abiodun OBA

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Chairman, Buba Marwa, says a progress report of the NDLEA should not be taken as an isolated appraisal but as an integral part of the anti-drug trafficking thrust of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari

Marwa spoke on Thursday at the weekly briefing organised by the presidential communication team, at the statehouse, Abuja.

The NDLEA boss said drug traffickers now consult “diabolic powers” for “lucky days” to move drugs without detection, but they still fall into the hands of the agency’s personnel who are now highly motivated to work.

He credited President Muhammadu Buhari as being the brain behind the agency’s recent successes in the war against illicit drugs.

“It is prudent for me to state upfront that a progress report of the NDLEA should not be taken as an isolated appraisal. Rather, it should be taken as an integral part of the anti-drug trafficking thrust of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

“Not only did the president set the tone for the fight against illicit drugs by handing the agency the mandate, the direction and the set objectives, he also provided the catalyst, willpower, financial intervention and moral support that boosted NDLEA’s capability to deliver.

“Coupled with the technical support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the fight against illicit drugs has never been this intense, focused or impactful in Nigeria’s history. Expectedly, the results have been justifying.”

He also said the agency is in partnership with local and foreign organisations to curtail the flow of illicit drugs.

“Without mincing words, the fight against trafficking in illicit substances is in full swing. This is the status quo since January 25, 2021, when NDLEA launched ‘Operation Offensive Action’ to spearhead the renewed war against illicit substances. Up till this moment, the tempo remains high,” he said.

“Now and for many months to come, the agency will sustain the momentum of its anti-drug activities across the length and breadth of Nigeria.”

He said the agency had so far seized drugs and substances worth N1 billion, adding that it would soon receive support from Germany worth €2 million for the establishment of a centre that would be used for the training of the agency’s sniffer dogs.

Marwa also said the agency will never support the legalisation of cannabis, no matter its economic gains.

“Definitely, there’s money for those people in those countries who have legalised it but the issue we must answer is if we and them (other countries) face the same situation. In Nigeria, we are leading in cannabis use; 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis,” he said.

“The argument has been made that the commission on narcotic drugs has deleted cannabis from schedule 4 of the 1961 convention. Yes, it was deleted by a vote of 27 to 25 against 11 of the members in Africa. Nine of us, including Nigeria, voted against it because of national interest.

“By the time you legalise cannabis, everybody will be smoking it and the money you are expecting, you will be building rehab centres to treat people.

“How far have we done with tramadol and we can’t control it. We are unable to. It is important to be very clear that the NDLEA will never support the use of cannabis.”

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