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The Drug Cartels’ Nightmare at  NDLEA

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There is no argument that the coming of retired Brigadier General Mohamed BubaMarwa as Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has engendered a revolution in the war against drug abuse with personnel of the outfit intensifying efforts daily to bring traffickers, barons and cartels to justice and ultimately rid the country of the menace.

Therefore, we challenge the transformational leadership as well as gallant officers and men of the agency not to rest on their oars in the raging battle to cleanse the society of hard drugs and psychotropic substances in the interest of not only Nigerians but generations unborn given the horrendous health, social and economic repercussions of drug abuse and trafficking.

Both federal and state governments, public spirited citizens and foreign partners are particularly charged to increase their support through donation of modern equipment and logistics to the agency for optimal performance.

It is a truism also, that Marwa, who clocked 70 years on September 9, upon assumption of office in January 2021, clearly, left no one in doubt about his patriotic and revolutionary mission to tackle the devastating scourge frontally and change the country’s  notoriety as transit and consumption hub for the deadly but lucrative trade in prohibited drugs and substances, not minding the hazards entailed.

According to available statistics, drug abuse has assumed a frightening dimension in the country, with over 14.3 million Nigerians, aged 15-64, using psychoactive substances, the most common drug of use include cannabis, pharmaceutical opioids, cocaine and heroine, while one out of four users is a woman. Sadly, we note that some of the devastating consequences of drug abuse by youths include terrorism, kidnapping, rape, suicide, cultism and other crimes.

 

Based on the foregoing therefore, the NDLEA’s under the incumbent Chairman launched a sustained war against drug abuse in a manner never experienced before such that the agency has strengthened its law enforcement efforts to cut down on the supply of drugs in society, arrested more than 31,675 drug offenders, including 35 barons; successfully prosecuted and convicted 5,147 of them; and over 11,000 other cases still pending in court between January 2021 and June this year. In addition,  23,725 drug users werecounselled and rehabilitated, most of them through brief interventions.

In other words, the agency’s steely resolve to fight the scourge headlong under the current leadership has been paying off handsomely and we commend the organization for a job well done and charge its personnel to intensify their efforts to take the battle to the door steps of  both drug barons and traffickers and run them out of business, like they have been doing to the satisfaction of citizens. Truly, the Chairman has become the tormentor in chief of these criminals and there appears to be no hiding place for them despite their ingenuity at concealing hard drugs.

Significantly too, in our view, Marwa’s transformational leadership aimed primarily at effecting positive change in the society and citizens, strength of character, personality, attitude and temperament, inspiration, encouragement, motivation to management team and personnel to keep raising their bar of performance and achieving what they ordinarily thought were incapable of doing executing the agency’s mandate are without doubt at the root of the result-oriented narrative of the agency today.

It is also worthy of note that the successful trajectory further derives from the fact that where other leaders before him were overcautious of taking bold steps or did same with trepidation, he doesn’t dither, if the situation calls for it and not withstanding whose ox is gored. This, we believe he had demonstrated severally beginning with the strengthening of the NDLEA through establishment of  six new directorates, 14 zonal commands, and a tactical unit of Strike Forces, among others.

Marwa, it is on record has similarly been an exemplary and inspiring

leader  regarding taking proactive actions calculated to delivering set results for the agency and motivation for staff in line with his philosophy that organisational goals are best achieved when the workforce gives its best to break barriers and excel in their areas of responsibility and that optimal performance can only come from happy and contented workers through regular promotions, payment of allowances, training and other constructive developments that continuously give hope to both management and staff.leadership for the Agency and motivating the personnel.

Described as a stickler for  innovation and adequate planning, the chairman also believes in extending the agency’s frontiers including for example the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy  which dates back to his tenure as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) which laid the solid foundation and blueprint for the overhaul of the NDLEA that in our view, has not only won public confidence through regular arrest and prosecution of both drug barons and traffickers but ensured that the institution will stand the test of time.

Established by Decree No. 48 of 29th December 1989, the promulgation of the NDLEA law  was a direct response to the increasing demand for and trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, which regrettably, adversely affected the international image of Nigerians and the country in the 1980s even as the trafficking of illicit substances had become an organised criminal activity that undermines the security, social, economic and technological development of the top country.

Specifically, its towering mission is to “deploy all resources at our disposal for the total eradication of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, by cutting off supply of illicit drugs and bringing suppliers to book, reducing the demand for illicit drugs and other substances of abuse and tracing and recovering drug related proceeds, through effective drug law enforcement”.

In our estimation therefore, two initiatives namely the Offensive Action, a non-stop, ramped-up drug supply reduction campaign launched on 18th January 2021, to galvanise NDLEA operatives to work round the clock in seamless, coordinated, goal-oriented actions that include tracking and arresting of drug traffickers, interdiction of illicit substance shipments and fast-track prosecution of offenders as well as  War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), an advocacy campaign launched on 26th June 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari to create awareness that will suffuse society with anti-drug culture are at the heart of the agency’s amazing success trajectory.

This not withstanding, the agency like most other public institutions has a fair share of challenges hampering its smooth operations ranging from lack of funds and modern equipment, inadequate workers, dearth of barracks to accommodate its personnel thereby exposing operatives to avoidable danger and incessant attacks attacks by drug lords and their accomplices.

Consequently, we strongly believe that given the NDLEA’s impactful performance underMarwa-led management team and staff so far, no effort should be spared in intensifying existing support through increased budgetary allocation by the federal government, increasedpartnership with non-governmental organizations, development partners, and greater contribution of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Union (EU) and the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, France, India and Germany, who have been very supportive especially in training operatives in the agency’s  renewed war on drugs. It is only through such massive backing on the part of all stakeholders that can guarantee a crushing defeat for drug barons and their foot soldiers, traffickers by the NDLEA.

 

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