NDLEA, Military To Strengthen Synergy On Drug War As CDS Musa Visits Marwa

The Nigerian military has promised to strengthen its synergy with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to curtail the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.

A press release on Monday, 18th December 2023 signed by the NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said that the assurance was given on Monday 18th December 2023 by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) at the Agency’s National Headquarters in Abuja.

In his remarks, Marwa commended the Nigerian Armed Forces under the leadership of the CDS for their loyalty, sacrifices and hard work to keep the country safe. He also thanked the military for supporting the Agency in terms of logistics and training.

While emphasizing the significance of the partnership between the military and the NDLEA, Marwa said substance abuse is at the root of crimes and criminalities across the country. “The criminal elements rely on drugs to carry out their criminalities and that is why we have been very ferocious in our offensive action against them to cut access and availability of these illicit drugs. As a result, in about three years we have arrested 42, 105 drug offenders, including 46 barons; seized 7, 500 tons of drugs; 1, 057 hectares of cannabis farms destroyed and 8, 350 offenders convicted while 29,400 drug users have been counselled and rehabilitated within the same period.

He therefore urged the armed forces to consider constructing a central rehabilitation centre and creating rehab facilities in existing military hospitals to attend to the treatment of their personnel who may have issues of substance abuse.

Speaking earlier, the CDS commended Marwa and his management team for the great turnaround on the drug war, which has positively changed the negative perception of Nigeria in the international community. He assured of the continued support of the armed forces to NDLEA in its renewed fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He said the Agency’s efforts have motivated the military to introduce drug tests as a requirement for training and promotion in the armed forces.

He said the nexus between drug abuse and insecurity cannot be over-emphasized, adding that if the nation can curb the scourge of substance abuse, the current security challenges would have been drastically reduced. He also said the menace must be tackled holistically while promising to consider the suggestion by the NDLEA boss for the military to have its central rehabilitation centre.

In his words, “We know the challenges of drugs and how the use of illicit drugs has affected Nigeria’s name. And when Nigeria is mentioned abroad, everybody thinks about drugs, but you and your team have turned that around, at least now, people have seen that sense of sincerity in addressing the drug issue in Nigeria. We know it is not easy, because a lot of people have benefited so much from it and they will do anything to sustain their illicit businesses.

“I want to assure you that the members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are fully behind you. We are proud of you and what you have been achieving and we will continue to support you until the menace of drugs is eliminated in the country. We know the influence of drug use and what it has done to us, creating a lot of issues all over the country, which is very alarming.

“Drug use has slipped into so many places, and for members of the Armed Forces; we’re not excluded. Now we have introduced as part of our recruitment processes that for our people to go for courses, they must take drug tests, because this will ensure that personnel of the Armed Forces are doing the right thing and are in the right frame of mind. So, we’ll continue to do that and continue to intensify our efforts.

“We have seen the number of arrests being made and how the world over now has seen that Nigeria is taking positive measures to address this drug issue, which I think is highly commendable. Theatre Commanders in the North East have seen the effect of drugs. Ideally, some people will not even be able to carry a knife, when they take drugs, they carry a GPMG. So, this tells you what drugs do, it gives you a lot of fake confidence and with usage over time they become addicted and when they become addicted it becomes dangerous to them and they become a danger to everyone close to them.”