By Bukar Bolori
Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) advocated for the confiscation of assets of drug cartels, insisting that this would go a long way in weakening criminal narco networks.
Marwa made the advocacy on Tuesday while delivering a Nigeria’s statement at the virtual extraordinary session for Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies
He charged other Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa to consider targetting the assets of drug cartels as a veritable tool that will weaken criminal narco networks.
He called on his colleagues in other countries to share experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the world drug problem.
According to him, “the disruption of the traditional criminal trafficking routes means that law enforcement personnel must be familiar with new technologies, techniques and strategies employed by organized criminal groups and traffickers. In order to proactively deal with these new challenges, there is, therefore, an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation in identifying and managing evolving challenges in drug trafficking. We must continue to weaken criminal drug networks through effective asset tracing and confiscation.”
He said: “We should, therefore, deepen international cooperation to address the increasing links between transnational organized crime, corruption, illicit financial flows, trafficking in drugs and related crimes. Let us not spare any effort in eliminating barriers to effective collaboration as we demonstrate commitment to our shared responsibilities.”
Marwa, while stating that Nigeria has remained dynamic in her counter narcotic operations in line with the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire by drug trafficking cartels to explore new markets and routes in furtherance of their criminal activities, told the global audience that:
“We are taking steps to tackle the online distribution of narcotic drugs, which has become prevalent among organised drug trafficking criminal groups, particularly since the global shut down last year.”
He disclosed that: “In the last eight months, Nigeria has made over 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilogrammes of drugs seized with over N100billion in cash and seized drugs.”
He listed other proactive steps taken by Nigeria to address and counter the various aspects of the drug problem, adding that: “We have developed the 4th edition of our National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, with four strategic pillars namely: Supply reduction, Demand reduction, Access to Controlled Medicines for medical purposes, Governance and Coordination.
“As part of our control programmes, the country recently launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to further amplify the national drive on both drug supply and drug demand reduction. As a result, we are collaborating with all levels of government, civil-society groups, Non-governmental Organizations, schools and relevant institutions.”
He emphasised the importance of strengthening international cooperation in addressing drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crimes, especially on the African continent.
He said: “Nigeria is committed to strong regional alliances which in the short term could be fostered through Memoranda of Understanding between our different agencies in the African Continent and beyond. A good example was the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEA).”