Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), says the agency has arrested over 8,634 suspected drug traffickers between January and August 2021.
Marwa, who disclosed this at the Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, also explained that the NDLEA made seizures of more than N100 billion in drugs and cash during the period.
“Our consistent targeting of drug trafficking organisations has resulted in the arrest of 8,634 suspected drug traffickers and the seizure of over N100 billion in cash and drugs. Perpetrators will go through the criminal justice system, with their fundamental human rights being strictly upheld,” the NDLEA boss stated.
He added that, “against the backdrop of the strong linkage between illicit drug consumption and insecurity, it is worthy of note that Nigeria made its first seizure of 74.119 kg of Captagon brand of amphetamine, presumably destined for use, to fuel insurgency and other violent crimes and criminalities, which Nigeria is currently grappling with”.
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Marwa assured the international community of Nigeria’s preparedness and determination to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers in any part of the country.
“Nigeria will remain undaunted in adopting dynamic strategies to counter new approaches adopted by organised criminals, in order to make drug trafficking unattractive while ensuring forfeiture of the criminally-derived assets, a tested and powerful deterrent to the proliferation of drug crimes and criminalities,” he declared.
According to him, the Nigerian Government has exhibited political will by demonstrating high commitment to the protection of public health and safety with the launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign, a call for civil action for all Nigerians to buy in and take full ownership of the fight against the menace of illicit drugs.
“More so, Nigeria’s drug control efforts have received a tremendous thrust with unprecedented stakeholders’ involvement; we have engaged civil society groups, non-governmental organisations, academia and governments at all levels, public enlightenment is also being strengthened with remarkable media visibility, even as the youths are regularly sensitized on social media platforms on the ugly consequences of illicit drugs and related criminalities.
“Our consistent targeting of drug trafficking organisations has resulted in the arrest of 8,634 suspected drug traffickers and the seizure of over N100 billion in cash and drugs within the first eight months of this year. Perpetrators will go through the criminal justice system, with their fundamental human rights, being strictly upheld.”
Mr Marwa appreciated all international partners who he said: “in the spirit of shared responsibility, deserve to be appreciated for their great support through technical assistance, information and intelligence sharing, capacity building and training specifically in the area of countering the use of information and communication technology for criminal purposes”.
According to him, the partnerships have given a great boost to Nigeria’s counter-narcotics strategies.
The NDLEA boss further stated that Nigeria is happy to report that the EU-funded, UNODC sponsored Cannabis Cultivation Survey is expected to bring to the fore, the full extent of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria, and make it easier to target measures to contain this perennial menace.
He told the global gathering that appropriate strategies have also been adopted to address the stigmatisation of people who use drugs, including meeting the needs of vulnerable communities and groups such as women, girls, children (out of school and homeless), internally displaced persons and so on.
General Marwa explained how one of the challenges of the pandemic is the proliferation of online sales of drug cookies and use of courier services to move illicit drugs.
He, however, stressed that the agency has been able to intercept, trace and dismantle most of the drug cells involved.