Marwa, NDLEA
Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen Buba Marwa (rtd)

Amendment of NDLEA Act Will Tackle Drug Abuse – Marwa

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said that the ongoing amendment of the NDLEA Act, when passed into law, will significantly enhance its organizational capability to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.

Marwa said this at the opening ceremony of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Drug Control meeting on Thursday, March 7, in Abuja.

He said: “We have to acknowledge, however, the existence of the funding challenge, which is limiting our capabilities in various ways.

“Nonetheless, we are looking forward to some positive developments that will lend impetus to the attainment of our set objectives. One such is the amendment of the NDLEA Act, which will significantly enhance the organisational capability of our agency in drug supply reduction.

“The hearing of the amended bill is making progress in the National Assembly and we look forward to it scaling the final hurdles.”

He acknowledged the tremendous work of the IMC in the implementation of the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025.

Marwa said the collaboration from stakeholders towards achieving the stated goals of the NDCMP is also deserving of appreciation.

He outlined some of the activities and achievements of NDLEA in 2023 in line with the national action plan on drug control.

He said: “After taking stock of key programmes implemented across the strategic pillars in 2022 and 2023, I can say that we have recorded significant progress on the 4th National Plan (NDCMP 2021-2025) compared to previous ones.

“Under the Supply Reduction Pillar, our operations and offensive action led to the arrest of 13, 664 drug traffickers, of whom 3, 412 have been convicted in 2023.  We recorded the seizure of 1.61 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs, and we carried out the destruction of 206.5 hectares of cannabis farms.

“In Drug Demand Reduction, we recorded the counselling and rehabilitation of 10,904 individuals. The implementation of WADA advocacy across states, local government areas, wards, and communities boosted the attainment of some set targets under the Drug Demand Reduction Pillar.

“Ramping up our WADA sensitisation activities has enabled us to reach different target groups, and, by the same token, has facilitated the diffusion of shared ownership of the effort to curb the proliferation, trafficking and abuse of illicit substances in the country.

“Generally, there had been momentous developments in 2022-2023 that were helpful to the attainment of our targets. Among others, these include, one, Nigeria’s hosting of the 30th Conference of the Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa, HONLEA, in September 2023; two, the commissioning of the NDLEA toll-free helpline, which has helped to bridge the gap between people who need treatment and the care provider, and three, the Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC)  training for the Governors’ Spouses, which has helped to strengthen response to drug problems across the states through the first ladies who are at the helm of the leadership of the State Drug Control Committee, SDCC.   And, of course, the non-stop WADA campaign across the federation continually gives us leverage in society.”

Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Oliver Stolpe said the achievement over the past years in enhancing law enforcement, increasing accessibility to treatment and rolling out prevention, and recently including harm reduction and Alternative Development, are all milestones that the NDLEA has created.

“The UNODC is grateful, and hopes that during the presentation by Nigeria at IMC International midterm review, Nigeria makes a great contribution to the world and inspires others in ways to take this fight against drug use and supply to the next level,” he said.

Also speaking, representative of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr. Daniel Akwasi Amankwaah said they were excited about the NDLEA drug control master plan because ECOWAS took inspiration from the NDLEA master plan to encourage other countries to develop their own master plan.

“I am glad to announce that of the 15 ECOWAS countries, 14 have developed their master plans. This is to say 99% of the countries have developed theirs and it is all thanks to the template of the NDLEA”

In his welcome remark, Special Adviser to the Chairman/CEO on NDCMP, Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho said the meeting was called to assess the efforts made by the IMC members so far, identify challenges and proffer solutions.

SOURCE: The Nation