President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to mop up all illicit drugs and substances in the country to make Nigeria a drug-safe haven.
The Chairman/Chief Executive, NDLEA, Brig-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) said on Wednesday in Abuja when he hosted the acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman.
This is as he urged the police to hand over confiscated drugs and suspects arrested in connection with drug trafficking to the NDLEA for prosecution as it does not fall within Police jurisdiction.
He also said that within three months, the agency seized over two million kgs of assorted drugs valued at N80bn.
According to him, the agency had arrested 2,100 criminals associated with the illicit trade and have secured over 350 convictions so far.
“So far, we know that about 15 million Nigerians use drug, it is a very high number and working on the mandate given to us by the President to mop up all illicit substances and make Nigeria a drug-safe haven, the NDLEA has remained upstanding by radiating up our activities.
“Within three months, we have been able to seize over 2 million kilogrammes of assorted drugs. We have seized these drugs to the value of N80bn, we have arrested 2,100 criminals associated with this illicit trade and have secured over 350 convictions so far. We are still counting by the grace of God.
“Some of our police officers get involved in seizures of drugs which is quite okay. But they should hand over to NDLEA after that. A few actually proceed with prosecuting those cases, they ought not since it is NDLEA’s charge,” Marwa said.
While seeking the collaboration of the police in the next phase of flushing out drug barons, he expressed optimism that more of these barons are going to come into the agency’s net.
“We believe the NPF will support us with intelligence tracking, these are probabilities that the NPF has. We will ask for slots in the Police institutes so that we will be beneficiaries. We should appoint liaison officers between us to ensure definite contact.
“We need renewed collaboration between us because the use of drugs is now confirmed as a major precursor to criminal activities in Nigeria. Bandits, terrorists and kidnappers all use drug first to give them false courage, fearlessness and capacity, and tirelessness to go and ravage communities everywhere. This is really the time for more collaboration,” Marwa said.
Speaking earlier, the acting IGP recalled that he was Borno State Police Public Relations Officer at the time Marwa was Military Administrator.
He said, “Anytime, 24/7, we are ready to collaborate with you. Experience is the best teacher, you have been in the business of crime prevention and control. We know your records in sanitizing where senseless things are involved. We are here to declare to you my unalloyed cooperation and collaboration.
“We are going to collaborate and synergize with the agency in order to police this country. Behind every crime, there is always the issue of drugs.
“If we synergize, cooperate and collaborate, it would be very beneficial to Nigerians and law enforcement as a whole,” Usman said.