The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, has stated that maintaining modern societies’ safety from the scourge of illicit drugs involves international engagement.
This has been reported in a statement made by Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at NDLEA, on Friday in Abuja.
Mr. Marwa made this statement while presenting a lecture at the Jayhawk Welcome Centre, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, US, to academics, students, mental health professionals, and Nigerians living abroad.
The talk is a part of the Marwa Africana talk Series, which has been held yearly since 2003 by the university’s Department of African and African-American Studies.
“War against Substance Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking: The Nigerian Story” was the lecture’s focus.
While discussing the Nigerian experience in the war against the global drug epidemic, Mr. Marwa stated that the NDLEA had been successful in preventing a sizable amount of drugs from reaching the streets.
In addition to saying that intelligence cooperation with counterparts in source countries or along the transnational pathways played a significant role in the success story, he said that this was accomplished by arresting them at the border or before to distribution.
The chairman said that for some 33 months now, Nigeria had run an unflagging anti-illicit drug campaign based on global best practices for drug law enforcement, and guided by UNODC’s Whole-of-Society approach to the drug conundrum.
According to him, while we have achieved remarkable mileage, the Nigerian anti-drug campaign is nonetheless a work in progress.
“Be that as it may, our achievements of the past 30 months, relative to the past 30 years, have bolstered our hope of greater accomplishments going forward.
“The support from our international partners; governments of friendly countries; the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Nigerian people have strengthened our conviction that the objective we pursue is not unrealistic.
“Now we have before us an open vista where the objective of a drug-free society is a possibility.
“The task of keeping modern society safe from the scourge of illicit drugs requires a global commitment, and in NDLEA and Nigeria, we are doing everything possible to fulfill our end of the bargain.”
The NDLEA boss also said that the choice of words for the campaign against illicit drugs in Nigeria was a metaphor that was reflective of the need for drastic steps against a brewing illicit drug apocalypse.
He added that the war on drugs within the Nigerian context connoted the severity of the situation as an existentialist threat to the Nigerian nation and the urgency and intensity of action required to bring the situation under control.
He further said that the campaign, was however, being conducted in accordance with global best practice.
Mr Marwa also told the gathering some of the strategic steps taken to get positive results by NDLEA.
“In every facet of our activities, we endeavour to adopt innovation. We upgraded our standard operating procedures. We innovated our methodologies, adopted sophisticated tools and systems, and embraced revolutionary paradigms in treatment.
“For instance, to break the jinx of barriers to treatment, NDLEA commissioned a drug abuse tele-therapy centre.
“This toll-free call centre has a round-the-clock helpdesk to which drug users, their families, and associates can call for assistance, and receive prompt attention from a team of counsellors and mental health professionals.
“The UN conventions encouraged law enforcement agencies in different countries to work in collaboration.
“We explore the opportunities maximally by renewing and strengthening our ties with our international partners, such as INL and DEA here in the United States.
“Also with Narcotics Control Bureau of India, the UK Border Force, and NCA, Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt, and the French Police, among others, “he said.
The lecture followed an interactive session during which Marwa answered questions asked by members of the audience especially Nigerians who expressed happiness on efforts being made by the Nigerian government to curtail drug scourge.
Some Academics who spoke at the event include Dr Shawn Leigh, Professor and Chair, Department of African and African-American Studies, Dr Peter Ukpokodu, a Professor of African and African-American Studies.
Others were Dr Dorthy Pennington, also a Professor of African and African-American Studies, Dr Amal El Haimeur, Assistant Professor of African and African-American Studies, all of University of Kansas.
“They commended the NDLEA chairman for his leadership skills and commitment to Nigeria and humanity.