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Redeeming Nigeria’s image as a drug trafficking nation

If anyone needs further proof of the yeoman’s job that NDLEA is doing, the evidence was delivered this week by Thailand’s envoy to Nigeria during…

If anyone needs further proof of the yeoman’s job that NDLEA is doing, the evidence was delivered this week by Thailand’s envoy to Nigeria during his visit to the NDLEA headquarters.

It was heartwarming to hear Kriwat Pharmorabuta, the Charge d’affaires and Deputy Head of Mission of the Royal Thai Embassy in Nigeria, tell the NDLEA Chairman, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd): “I have good news that I received as we speak because before, there were around 800 prisoners from Nigeria in Thai prisons, but right now the number has decreased greatly, it is less than 200.”

For background, Thailand is among a handful of Asian countries with record numbers of Nigerians incarcerated for drug trafficking. In that context, what he meant was that not many Nigerian traffickers had been arrested in the past few years.

So how does that concern NDLEA?

The Thai envoy clarified this in his next statement: “I would like to thank Your Excellency (Marwa) and to inform you that the government of Thailand gives more importance to the certificate of NDLEA of Nigeria before issuing visas. There may be some other criteria, some other qualifications, that they might need, but I think it’s not the priority. The priority document that the government of Thailand needs is the certificate from NDLEA. So, it means that if a Nigerian has the NDLEA Certificate, the correct one is in their hands, 90%-95% assurance is guaranteed that they can receive the visas to enter the Kingdom of Thailand.”

Two facts are deduced from the statement of the Thai envoy. The first and most obvious is the importance of the visa clearance certificate that NDLEA issues to Nigerians travelling to Thailand and at least seven other countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Brazil, Pakistan, Philippines and Russia.

This clearance is essentially a background check conducted by NDLEA to ensure that an applicant does not have any drug-related records. A diligent check and clearance means those who receive the visa can be trusted not to get involved in drug trafficking during their stay in those countries. By implication, NDLEA kept the bad eggs out.

Aside from the visa clearance, the agency’s interdiction at international airports has helped keep at bay the wave of potential drug mules that could have trafficked illicit substances from Nigeria to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Adekunbi Lawal wrote from Abuja


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