Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Maruwa (Retd) has charged other Heads of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa to consider targetting the assets of drug cartels as a veritable tool that will weaken criminal networks.
He gave the charge at the virtual extraordinary session for Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies to share experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the world drug problem, on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
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 organised 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 tracking and confiscation,” the NDLEA boss said.
“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.
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, Gen. Marwa 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. In the last eight months, Nigeria has made over 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilograms 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. “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 programs, 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 added.
He emphasized the importance of strengthening international cooperation in addressing drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized 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 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), he assured his counterparts.”