From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A non-governmental organisation, CITAR NGO has described the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd) as a round peg in a round hole because of his proactive feat so far in tackling drug trafficking in the country within the shortest time of his appointment.
A statement by the leader of the NGO, Muhammad Alhaji Yakubu said there is no appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari that is so fitting in recent time like that of Marwa.
Yakubu said for the NDLEA boss to make seizures worth billions of naira as soon as he assumed office, “shows that he is a round peg in a round hole”, adding that well meaning Nigerians should join hands with him to save the country from the hands of drugs cartels.
“Following his avowed promise to dismantle drug trafficking cartels across Nigeria, the agency recently made huge seizures of cocaine and heroin, with street values worth over N30 billion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
“One of the seizures, 26.840 kilograms of cocaine, is the biggest single seizure from an individual in the past 15 years.
“On January 27, at about 1:20p.m, during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline passengers at the E- arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, a female passenger by name Jennifer, 33, who arrived Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, was intercepted by NDLEA operatives.
“Consequently, she was taken to NDLEA office at the Airport, where her bags were searched thoroughly, and in the process, whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet contained in her two travel bags.
“Field test was conducted on the recovered substances and proved positive to Cocaine and weighed 26.850kilograms.
“The suspect who is a hair stylist and based in Brazil was interviewed and she confessed to have agreed to smuggle the hard drug for N2,000,000 only.
“The street value of this singular seizure is put at over N21 billion.
“We noted that the development came on the heels of a similar one recorded two days earlier at the airport, precisely on January 25.
“He said a red left-over luggage was declared to the NDLEA operatives as a left over at the E-arrival hall after the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian airline.
“Based on information on the luggage tag, the luggage arrived Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil, a destination classified as high-risk country going by records and trends of arrest and seizures.
“Subsequently, the bag was transferred to the NDLEA ‘Legal Seat’ being the administrative office at the passenger terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, for detention.
“While this was going on, the NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba received an intelligence report of a purported plan to clear a consignment containing hard drug through the Lagos airport.
“Coincidentally, the details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the Lagos airport.
“In a coordinated operation, on January 27, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu.
“Guided by the operation and investigation unit, the undercover agent successfully lured the said Abubakar Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport where he was arrested.
“The suspect revealed to NDLEA operatives that another person was on his way to receive the bag based on the instruction of his sender.
“Thereafter, the detained bag was opened in the presence all the three suspects and whitish powdery substances were discovered neatly concealed and sewn inside five children duvets.
“Field test was carried out on the exhibits proved they are cocaine weighed to be 8.400 Kilograms, with a street value of over N7 billion.”
“It was further learned that on January 24, at about 12 noon, another suspectsne was arrested at the passengers screening point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and subjected to body scan, which proved positive for hard drugs ingestion.
“According to the anti-drug law enforcement agency, the suspect was immediately transferred to NDLEA/JBTF office and placed on excretion observation.
“Subsequently, he excreted a total of 68 wraps of substance, which was tested and proved positive to heroin. It was also weighed 950 grams.
“At this juncture, we want to commend Marwa and the MMIA, Lagos commander, Ahmadu Garba and his team for their efforts and following up on his directives at a meeting with all the commanders in charge of the 36 states, FCT and special commands”.
The group said that the appointment is timely because it’s coming at a time when the threat of drug scourge in the nation is at an all time high.
“It will also go a long way to boost the morale of the staff to collectively work and cooperate with the lofty vision of General Marwa to ensure and assure a drug-free Nigeria.
“The challenges of drug and substance abuse is at an all time high and possess great threats to the much-desired moral rebirth and national security.
“Drugs and substance abuse destroy family, vision, undermines productivity and national integration. The earlier the scourge is addressed, the better for our nation.”
“The NDLEA, saddled with the task of arresting the scourge, is inundated with series of challenges, such as inadequate funding, manpower training, low staff morale and the increasing ferocity of drug barons and underdogs.
“General Mohammed Buba Marwa is eminently qualified to address these challenges of drug scourge, with the support of Mr President and all Nigerians. His credible and pragmatic leadership antecedents, his robust military strategy and experiences and his diplomatic credentials will be handy to handle this onerous task.
“Also, his credential of service delivery as military administrator of both Lagos and Borno States, will no doubt, be brought to bear on the new assignment of tackling drug scourge in the nation.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for making a fitting and right choice in the new administrator.
“We call on the federal government to, without delay, improve funding of the agency, provide adequate training for its staff, enhance their welfare to prevent compromise and implement policies that will boost its global collaborations and initiate funding support from international partners, for effective anti-drug campaigns in Nigeria.”