The United Kingdom Home Office International Operations has trained no fewer than 35 officers of the Marine Command and Seaports Operations of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency in recent weeks, The PUNCH reports.
Five among the 35 trainees are currently undergoing a two-week Maritime Patrol and Tactical Coxswain training by the UK’s Central Maritime Training Unit based in Southampton.
The NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, made the revelation on Saturday in a statement obtained by our correspondent.
He said the training, according to the HOIO, is to enhance the border control capabilities of the NDLEA by providing specialised training, mentoring and advanced drug detection equipment.
Babafemi said, “Key areas covered so far include boat handling, weapons handling, riverine operations, boarding and vessel search, among many others.
“Some of the training exercise was facilitated by the British military, the Nigerian Navy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime under the Global Maritime Crime Programme.”
He further added that the ongoing two-week training of five NDLEA marine officers including their first female coxswain will enable them to plan maritime deployments, pursue, stop and board vessels on the high seas.
Meanwhile, the Home Office International Operations Regional Manager for West Africa, Kris Hawksfield, in his remark during his visit to the team undergoing training in Southampton stated that HOIO was immensely proud and honoured to work with and support the work of NDLEA.
He added that the UK remains committed to strengthening the mutually beneficial work of the Agency to interdict, seize and destroy illicit substances and drugs which would otherwise harm Nigeria and the UK.
Meanwhile, Babafemi noted that while thanking the UK government for its continued support and commitment in helping the NDLEA to enhance its capacity and capabilities to tackle drug trafficking, the NDLEA Chairman, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd.) urged the officers to remain steadfast in their professional calling and ensure they bring to bear the essence of the training on their formations and colleagues.
Marwa also assured that he will continue to prioritise the training and retraining of all officers, men and women of the agency.