NDLEA: Winning war against drug trafficking is imperative – Marwa

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said winning the war against drug trafficking is imperative because of its negative impact on society.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), stated on Thursday in Asaba when he led a delegation to visit Governor Sheriff Oborevwori at Government House, Asaba.

He said hard drug scourge in Nigeria had become very high, with over 15 million drug users within the age bracket of 15 and 64 years, according to the relevant agency of the United Nations survey and called for the support and cooperation of the state government in the fight against the scourge.

Marwa traced the rampant kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, insurgency, rape, murder and other vices across the country to hard drug abuse by perpetrators.

He said drug abuse prevalence rate in Delta State among those aged 15 and 64 was 18 percent, with over half a million of the population involved.

Marwa said the agency, in two years, had destroyed nearly over 1,000 hectares of land devoted to the cultivation of illicit drugs, seized over 6,000 tonnes and arrested over 36,000 suspects and persons of interest, while over 6,000 were convicted and jailed.

He said he was in Delta to condole with the Fidelis family on the death of the two-year-old Eromonsele, who accidentally lost his life during an operation in Asaba, and to also speak with stakeholders playing important roles in the fight against drug trafficking in the country.

Earlier, Delta state Governor, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, raised the alarm on the growing incidence of hard drug abuse in the country, saying it had become a global public health issue that needed to be tackled head-on and called on all stakeholders to work towards its prompt effective eradication.

He commended the NDLEA and other stakeholders for the fight against hard drug abuse but urged that the momentum must be sustained if the nation was to win the war against the growing illicit hard drug business.

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.

“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.”

He, however, said that, despite the rise in drug abuse, a lot was being done on advocacy and rehabilitation at the designated centers, adding that, in support of the goals of the NDLEA, he had appointed a capable hand as Senior Special Assistant on illicit Drugs.

He said the unfortunate incident of July, in which an innocent child died and another was injured in the course of an NDLEA operation in the state, would not stop the state government from supporting the fight against 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.