From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd), has urged heads of national drug law enforcement agencies in Africa to confiscate the assets of drug cartels.
He posited that this will weaken criminal narcotic networks in the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking on the continent.
Marwa gave the charge while presenting Nigeria’s position at the virtual extraordinary session of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies on Tuesday in Abuja.
This was contained in a statement issued by the NDLEA’s spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi.
Marwa shared experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the drug problem worldwide.
He said that the disruption of the traditional criminal trafficking routes meant that law enforcement personnel must be familiar with new technologies.
Marwa said that techniques and strategies employed by organised criminal groups and traffickers should be known by enforcement agents.
According to him, 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 assets tracking and confiscation.
‘We should, therefore, deepen international cooperation to address the increasing links between transnational organised 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,’ he said.
The NDLEA chairman stated that Nigeria had remained dynamic in her counter-narcotic operations in line with the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted the desire by drug trafficking cartels to explore new markets and routes in furtherance of their criminal activities.
‘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 in 2020.
‘In the last eight months, Nigeria has made more than 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilogrammes of drugs seized with over N100 billion in cash and seized drugs,’ he said.
The NDLEA chairman listed other proactive steps taken by Nigeria to address and counter the various aspects of the drug problem.
‘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 inaugurated 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 Organisations (NGOs), schools and relevant institutions,’ he added.
Marwa emphasised the importance of strengthening international cooperation in addressing drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organised crimes, especially on the African continent.
‘Nigeria is committed to strong regional alliances which in the short term could be fostered through Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between our different agencies in the African Continent and beyond.
‘A good example is the recent MoU signed between the NDLEA and Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEAG),’ he stated.