The Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has advised that unashamed drug tycoons and syndicates will face tougher times in 2023 if they fail to back out of the lawless drug business.
Marwa gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja at a media briefing to update the public on sweats by the agency to relieve the country of lawless substance abuse and drug trafficking on the second anniversary of his leadership of the anti-narcotics body.
“Last time, I issued a New Year appeal to them and also advised that those who refused to heed the warning will find themselves in a delicate situation. Formerly, we’ve 34 barons in our net and they’re facing the music in court. We’ve secured orders for the temporary penalty of their means.
“With our execution being topnotch, they can look forward to a long time in captivity and final penalty of their wealth and means.
“Those involved in the lawless drug trade should take a cue from our conduct. They can again look forward to a tough time this year,” Marwa said.
According to him, the signs of what to come are clear as the agency in the first two weeks of this time took down three major drug syndicates, one of which has erected expansive networks across the world while at least six of their kingpins are in NDLEA custody.
Marwa said that the details will be released in the coming days.
He said, “In these two years, we arrested 26, 458 drug merchandisers, among them, 34 barons. In 24 months, we successfully prosecuted 3, 733 offenders who were convicted and handed various jail terms in court.
“Of the conviction figure, 2, 346 were recorded in 2022 alone, which is the highest in the history of the agency and nearly doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of the agency. This isn’t happenchance but a result of professionalism, determination, commitment and hard work of our officers, men and women.”
Describing 2022 as an epoch year, Marwa said, “We took a giant step in drug demand reduction with the establishment and commissioning of the agency’s drug abuse call centre which broadened access to treatment and recuperation. It was a time we had unknown support too, especially from the Governors’ Wives Forum which made commitments to broaden and consolidate social sweats to ameliorate the consequences of drug abuse.
“We also had support from our transnational partners, primarily the UNODC, counterparts and governments of the United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, and South Korea. The support came in the form of donations of equipment, training, intelligence and other logistics.”
While assuring Nigerians that the agency is forcefully on the task of making Nigeria safe from lawless substances, the NDLEA boss said similar may sound like impossibility but is attainable.
He also advised citizens to be cautious in their dealings with people of questionable wealth. He added that the anticipated amendment of the NDLEA Act will be this year and that will strengthen the arm of the agency in its drug law enforcement.
He said, “The Proceed of Crime Act 2022 legislated last year has given us new influence. And I’ll like to remind those who profit from the proceeds of drug crimes, this time, families, musketeers and associates, that our examinations are thorough and where we find any link between a drug Napoleon and private citizens, we shall check their means. The onus is now on every citizen; to be honest in their fiscal dealings with people whose source of wealth is questionable. ”
He expressed gratefulness to President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders for their support in the total metamorphosis of the agency and the successes recorded.