By Bukar Bolori
Over 500 persons have been convicted of various drug offences across the country in the last five months, the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd.) revealed on Monday.
Marwa, who was appointed as Chairman/CEO of the anti-narcotics agency five months ago, while addressing the press in Abuja on the achievements of NDLEA under his watch as part of a weeklong activities marking the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, said over 500 convictions have been recorded so far with 1,549 cases still pending in court.
Marwa said: “Expectedly, our painstaking and strategic operational efforts have translated into encouraging results. The Agency’s offensive action against drug cartels across the country launched some five months ago, has yielded over 2,180 arrests of drug traffickers and the seizure of over 2 million kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs.
“We have filed at least 2,100 drug cases in court, recording over 500 convictions with 1,549 cases pending in court.”
He said the week will be devoted to a range of activities designed to accentuate the new anti-drug order and to further ramp up the Agency’s advocacy to the citizenry.
Marwa disclosed that the major highlight of the week is the formal launch of War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) by President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday.
It is indeed a great pleasure to welcome you to this press briefing.
The NDLEA boss while disclosing that the theme of this year’s United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking is “Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives,” said it was very significant considering the unquantifiable and enormous danger posed by substance abuse.
He lamented that: “Abuse of narcotics has incapacitated the workforce of organisations and ruined communities and societies. It has brought about family disintegration, decimated the capacities of our youths and given rise to all types of crimes such as insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, rape and violent extremism which have befallen nations including our dear country Nigeria with attendant health consequences on the users.”
He added that: “The dynamism of the drug problem has made it imperative for us to continue to deepen our knowledge and understanding of this deleterious conundrum. In this regard, sharing facts about drug abuse and illicit trafficking in narcotics, as captured by this year’s theme, will go a long way in shedding some light on hitherto hidden factors that aid predisposition to substance abuse, especially the question of new psychoactive substances.”
Marwa said drug abuse as an enabler of all forms of criminality is a hydra-headed monster that must be crushed if we must move forward as a nation, claiming that: “The solution lies in having hyper-efficient anti-drug machinery, which is what the NDLEA stands for.”
He said: “Since my assumption of office as Chairman/CEO in January this year, we set machinery in motion to reposition the Agency. I am glad to report to you today that after five months, we are making a definite headway in repositioning the NDLEA for efficiency and effectiveness.”
He however admitted that NDLEA cannot win the drug war without the help of citizens, appealing for cooperation of all and sundry.
He said: “We all owe Nigeria the duty of ensuring that drug abuse and trafficking do not thrive in this country. For us all, it is an urgent assignment, because if we must end youth radicalization, violent extremism, cultism, banditry, wanton kidnapping, insurgency and the like, drug abuse and trafficking must be dealt a decisive blow. To win the drug war, NDLEA must synergize with other law enforcement and sister agencies and stakeholders for maximum impact. The simplest contribution that we ask of every patriotic citizen is what is captured by the theme of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking: “Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives.”