NDLEA Chairman Urges Collaboration to Combat Drug Trafficking

The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), has stressed the paramount importance of winning the battle against drug trafficking due to its detrimental effects on society.

NDLEA Chairman
Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd)

He made this assertion during a visit to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori at the Government House in Asaba on Thursday.

Marwa drew attention to the alarming prevalence of hard drug usage in Nigeria, with over 15 million drug users aged between 15 and 64 years, according to data from the United Nations.

He called for the active support and cooperation of the state government in the fight against this scourge, highlighting its direct links to rising crime rates such as kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, insurgency, rape, murder, and other societal vices.

Marwa revealed that the drug abuse prevalence rate in Delta State for individuals aged 15 to 64 stands at 18 percent, involving over half a million of the state’s population.

Over the past two years, NDLEA has taken significant strides in combating this issue, including the destruction of more than 1,000 hectares of land used for illicit drug cultivation, the seizure of over 6,000 tonnes of illegal substances, and the apprehension of over 36,000 suspects and individuals of interest. Over 6,000 convictions have been secured.

In expressing his condolences to the Fidelis family for the unfortunate death of two-year-old Eromonsele during an operation in Asaba, Marwa said the purpose of his visit is to engage with key stakeholders involved in the fight against drug trafficking.

Delta State Governor, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, raised concerns about the growing menace of hard drug abuse in the nation, emphasizing the need to address it as a global public health issue. He commended the efforts of the NDLEA and other stakeholders in combating drug abuse while stressing the importance of maintaining momentum to ultimately triumph over the escalating illicit hard drug trade. Collaboration among all stakeholders is essential to this endeavor.

The governor said, “I am very touched that you took time to come to Delta State over the incident that happened and also used the opportunity to meet your people here.

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“I celebrate your sacrifice, commitment, and dedication to duty. You have demonstrated that you are a caring and passionate leader—the kind of leader we need in Nigeria.

“It is not a strange thing to us because we know you and we know your antecedents during your time as a Military Administrator of Lagos State.

“Delta State is happy to receive you, and we know that, under your leadership, the NDLEA has recorded outstanding successes, bursting drug cartels in the country. I commend you and your personnel at the NDLEA for your resolve to rid the nation of illicit drugs, no matter who is involved.

“The momentum must be sustained if we are to win the war against drug abuse. Drug abuse is both a global health and social problem. In Nigeria, it has become a public health menace.

“It needs urgent and proactive actions to be able to handle the trend, and I assure you of our unwavering support and partnership in this fight.”

However, he emphasized that, even in the face of increasing drug abuse, significant efforts were underway to promote advocacy and rehabilitation at designated centers. He also mentioned that, in alignment with the objectives of the NDLEA, he had appointed a qualified individual as the Senior Special Assistant on Illicit Drugs.

He expressed that the regrettable event in July, during which an innocent child lost their life and another was injured in an NDLEA operation in the state, would not deter the state government from continuing their commitment to combat drug trafficking and substance abuse.

“We commend the NDLEA for sending a team for an investigation to ascertain what actually happened. I also instructed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to give a letter to the family to get an American visa for the treatment of the child abroad.

“On the issue of partnership, we are already partnering. What you are doing in the NDLEA is commendable, and Nigerians are happy”, he said.