Everybody remembers him as the handsome, ever-smiling military administrator of Lagos State who was well-loved for his people-oriented policies. Military men are generally known to be unsmiling and tough-looking, but he has always had this calm, friendly mien. Welcome to the world of Mohamed Buba Marwa, a retired military chief and now an astute politician. Since the Adamawa-born Brigadier-General Marwa (retd) left office as Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa —his last major position he was appointed to by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
In the thinking of many, his recent appointment as the chief executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has further signified his relevance in the political clime. Unarguably close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Marwa had worked assiduously as Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, between 2018 and December 2020, along with others to develop a blueprint on how to end drug abuse in Nigeria. Sources said after studying the reports on national drug strategy, it was unanimously agreed that Marwa is the best man to be appointed as nation’s drug czar to address the opioid epidemic. And he has shown more than enough capacity and results to justify Buhari’s tapping him for the job. As NDLEA boss, Marwa hits the ground running with characteristic decisiveness and seriousness of purpose, setting out his agenda and strategies to combat the truly terrifying menace of drug abuse and addiction in Nigeria, particularly among the youths, and reading the riot act to drug cartels across the country.
With hindsight on what he did with ‘Operation Saki’ in Borno and particularly, ‘Operation Sweep’ during his days in Lagos where he made use of intelligence and secretive force embedded within the operatives of the ‘Operation Sweep’ —of the 400 patrol cars, about 100 patrol cars were unmarked and the occupants were also in mufti— Marwa’s method is not that different this time around. Within a month as the nation’s anti-drug czar, he has led the anti-drug agency to seize various types of illicit drugs worth scores of billions of naira with strong determination to bring drug barons to their knees. For Marwa —with his trajectory of public service as Defence Attaché both in Nigerian Missions in Washington DC, and New York, USA —the first to be appointed twice at different occasions—as well as Nigeria’s former Ambassador to South Africa and the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland, in addition to being a two-time Governor— to accept such a task should be commended. His records of performance anywhere he goes has been excellent and there is no gainsaying that he will succeed in his new assignment as the nation’s anti-drug czar.