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

Clandestine Laboratories Threat to Public Health, National Security – Marwa

Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), said the recent discovery of clandestine laboratories for the production of methamphetamine and the seizures of captagon, fentanyl, and other deadly substances in Nigeria further underscores the growing threat of illicit drugs to public health and national security.

The agency’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, said Marwa made the remarks in Lagos, yesterday, at the Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) twinning programme being organised by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The NDLEA boss noted that if drug trafficking cartels could maintain an effective network across the globe, drug law enforcement agencies would need to forge a clear formidable lead ahead of them to win the all-important fight.

Marwa said: “This programme is a laudable initiative and is timely considering the proliferation of new psychotropic substances (NPS), non-medical synthetic opioids, and other dangerous substances. The multi-agency training on real-time communication, intelligence tools, awareness raising, and the handling of dangerous substances, is a welcome development aimed at intercepting narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

“Expectedly, this will help to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement and regulatory officers across regions and promote faster and more effective cooperation among participating countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other benefits include intelligence sharing and officer exchange programmes, which are vital to the dislodgment of transnational drug trafficking groups.”

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Expressing optimism about the gains of the strategic alliance between West Africa and Southeast Asia, Marwa said the twinning programme “is preparing a solid foundation for a more coordinated onslaught against drug trafficking cartels. Apart from exposing officers to global and regional trends in new psychotropic substances (NPS) and non-medical synthetic opioids, it will also enhance the capacity of law enforcement agents to discharge their duties.”

While emphasising the need for greater partnership among nations, the NDLEA boss promised that the agency will continue to take every step aimed at increasing local and international collaboration.

Also speaking at the programme, Craig Nixon of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), US Department of State, said “we continue to engage our foreign partners to attain more impactful counter-narcotics and law enforcement outcomes through foreign assistance, diplomacy, and the deployment of deterrence tools”, adding that the new modality of synthetic drug trafficking poses a significant challenge to the United States.

In his remarks, Regional Technical Officer, INCB’s GRIDS programme in West and Central Africa, Amari Bedi Olivier, congratulated the NDLEA chairman over “the recent historic seizure of fentanyl.”

In his own presentation, Regional Technical Officer, GRIDS Programme, Long Nguyen Duc, warned that social media networks all around the globe are widely exploited by vendors of dangerous substances, such as synthetic opioids or NPS, adding that “more and more vendors are “fishing” their customers over social media and then continue the communication via encrypted communication tools such as Wickr.” He also highlighted the dangers of exposure to fentanyl through use or improper handling.