From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it is investigating a N30 billion slush fund believed to be proceed of drugs.
The disclosure was made on Monday by the Chairman and Chief Executive of the agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa, who justified ongoing operations by the anti-narcotics agency to identify and seize funds and assets linked to drug barons and traffickers.
Gen. Marwa spoke at the presentation of commendation letters to 45 outstanding officers and men as well as best performing commands award for the months of March and April, 2021.
He explained that the vigour with which the Agency is targeting drug cartels has led to the seizure of drugs and cash worth over N90billion in four months adding that there is need to deny criminal elements all benefits of their proceeds of crime in addition to sending them to jail.
He noted that for the kind of work that officers and men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, do, motivation is the catalyst to their productivity and loyalty to duty.
The world over, the task of combating drug trafficking and curbing drug abuse is demanding. The nature of the job demands of the narcotic agent great sacrifice, unwavering dedication and a keen sense of duty borne out of the understanding that his effort is crucial to keeping the society safe from the scourge of illicit substances.
In Nigeria, the call of duty for the NDLEA operative is twice as demanding, given the country’s dire drug profile, a drug abuse prevalence of 14.4%, which is nearly three times the global average. The magnitude of trafficking and abuse of illicit substances in Nigeria calls for a highly motivated workforce of anti-drug officers and men who are strongly committed to cleaning the Augean stable.
It is in light of this, that any act or gesture that is an appreciation of their effort is a veritable morale booster for the anti-drug operative. Such a gesture will galvanise them to further dedicate themselves to the job.
This was why when I took over in January; I made it a cardinal objective to find ways of motivating the NDLEA personnel to go the extra mile required. That informed the strategic decision, among others, to institute a bi-monthly assessment of Best Performing Command Award to motivate our officers and men. Some of the criteria used to determine award winners are as follows : Arrest and seizures, Bravery. Rejection of financial and other inducements.
Assets and financial investigations of the Command, Management of seized assets. Drug demand reduction activities, Convictions, Innovations, Synergy with other security agencies.
The event of today is in keeping faith with that reward scheme I initiated soon after assumption of office.
The first bi-monthly award, covering the January – February 2021 period (given in March) was deservedly won by the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Command.
The second award, based on performance results of March and April, is what we are presenting here today. And it is heartwarming to know that the Best Performing Command Award this time around, has two Commands as joint winners. The MMIA Command and the Ondo State Command are the joint winners.
This development is a testament that the measures we have put in place to motivate our officers and men since I came on board as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer are not in vain. Congratulations to MMIA and Ondo State commands, co-winners of the Best Performing Commands for the March-April period.
Beyond the best performing Command recognition, we are also extending commendations to the officers and men whose works and dedication to duty have impacted the performance of their various commands.
To this end, a number of personnel have been specially selected based on recommendations, from MMIA, FCT, Ondo, Kogi, NAIA, Kano and Kaduna State commands. They shall be getting letters of commendation and other incentives. All of those receiving commendation letters, who hold the ranks of Supritendent of Narcotics and below, are deserving of accelerated promotion and are hereby promoted to their next higher ranks, with effect from today.
We have spent the past four months implementing various measures aimed at repositioning the agency, with emphasis on strengthening the capacity of our officers. In return, we have reaped high-impact, far-reaching results that leave no room for any doubt about the efficacy of the strategies we have adopted. The results justify our efforts. The evidence is clear for everyone to see.
It is a collective pride of the Agency that our efforts are daily yielding positive results, and we are being appreciated by the public. Now you hear people talk about the “New NDLEA” on radio and TV, in the newspapers and on social media. Various groups and institutions in society seek to partner with us in the renewed war against drugs.
I want every one of us to understand that the feats of the NDLEA being hailed nationally and internationally couldn’t have been possible without each of us putting in our best effort.
In other words, the achievement of the NDLEA so far is the sum total of the efforts of all the officers and men across the various commands in the 36 states and the FCT as well as the special commands. That is to say, the credit goes to every one of us here and in our various commands. We did not bring in a new set of operatives to implement our new action plan. We are still the same officers and men of the NDLEA. We are breaking these new grounds, because of our collective resolve and our rededication to service. Were it not for you, the achievements of the past four months wouldn’t have been possible. We wouldn’t have been able to arrest 2,175 drug traffickers, neither would the seizure of 2,050,766.33 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs have been possible if you had chosen to do just the minimal work across your various commands. If our approach has been one of business as usual, we would not have been able to seize drug and cash valued at over N90 billion in just four months. Think of what a fraction of that could have done to the various criminalities in Nigeria.The filing of about 2,100 drug cases in court with over 500 convictions was made possible by the collective efforts of our officers and men who decided to go the extra mile.
Today, it is part of our records and collective credits that we are not only breaking down the high walls shielding drug cartels but also reining in drug barons. So, every one of you, our officers and men, spread across the country made the achievements possible.
I want to assure you that the Agency will not rest on its oars. Our offensive action will not stop until our streets, communities, towns and cities have been cleaned up of any remnant of illicit drugs. While we keep up the offensive in the field, the leadership of the Agency will daily continue to work out effective strategies and tactics to sustain the momentum.
That is why we have strengthened our Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations to go after all assets or funds linked to drug trafficking which had led to interim and final forfeiture orders on assets and funds worth billions of naira linked to drug traffickers and barons. Of significant interest is our current investigation of a N30 billion slush fund believed to be proceeds of drugs.