Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, has promised to reposition the agency for efficient fight against illicit drug trafficking.
Marwa said this during his inaugural address to staff of the agency on Monday in Abuja, insisting that it was the duty of the NDLEA to stop all forms of drug abuse in the country.
He said that NDLEA would be overhauled and expanded in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA).
“I want to reassure you all that your welfare will be given utmost attention; the outstanding issues of stagnation in rank, training and postings and due emoluments will be addressed as a priority.
“Also, operational and logistics inadequacies in the service will be looked into. Nigeria is the only country we have and we cannot fold our arms. We can, will and must eliminate the drug scourge.
“As the lead agency in the drug war in Nigeria, you are all too familiar with the extent of devastation that drug use had caused our nation,” Marwa said.
Marwa said the number of drug users in the country currently could be estimated to be more than 15 million people, going by the recent figures issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) survey in 2018.
According to him, no fewer than 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 years and 64 years are found to be drug users; three times the global prevalence.
“We will put equal efforts in drug demand reduction as contained in the NDLEA act; we will develop a strategy of work to meet our objectives, following the National Drug Control Master plan 2021- 2025 to be released soon, as our roadmap.
“With my military background, you know what to expect; NDLEA will safeguard the nation and our youths from the drug menace, that is a task that must be done.
“I expect diligence at work and will not hesitate to penalise default, hardwork will be rewarded; I would like to warn those who engage in the dastardly trade of importation, export, cultivation, processing, manufacture, trafficking, sale and consumption of illicit substances to stop forthwith or be prepared to contend with the NDLEA,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Marwa as the new NDLEA chairman on Friday after the tenure of the agency’s former chairman, retired Col. Muhammad Abdallah’s expired.
Marwa had worked as Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) between 2018 and December 2019 alongside others to develop a blueprint on how to end drug abuse in Nigeria.