Nigeria committed to scrutinise drug barons’ assets, Marwa tells UN

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.), has assured the international community of Nigeria’s commitment to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers in any part of the country.

The NDLEA boss gave the assurance in a presentation at the ongoing third committee session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States of America (U.S.A), according to a statement yesterday in Abuja by the agency’s spokesman Femi Babafemi.

Marwa said: “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.

“The Federal Government has exhibited the 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 (NGOs), academia and government at all levels, public enlightenment is also being strengthened with remarkable media visibility, even as the youth are regularly sensitised on social media platforms on the ugly consequences of illicit drugs and related criminalities.

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“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.”

He expressed appreciation to international partners “who, 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, which has given great boost to our counter-narcotic strategies”.

Marwa said Nigeria was happy to report that the EU-funded, UNODC-sponsored Cannabis Cultivation Survey was expected to bring to the fore the full extent of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria, and make it easier to target measures to contain the perennial menace.

“Appropriate strategies have also been adopted to address the issue of 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 (IDPs) and so on.

“It is worthy of mention here that one of the challenges of the pandemic is the proliferation of online sale of drug cookies and use of courier services to move illicit drugs. However, we were able to intercept, trace and dismantle most of the drug cells involved,” he said.

Part of the successes of Nigeria’s drug war efforts, Marwa said, was the recent “first seizure of 74.119 kilogrammes 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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