NDLEA secures 3,733 convictions in 24 months – Marwa

NDLEA secures 3,733 convictions in 24 months – Marwa

By Sumaila Ogbaje, Abuja.


Retired Brig.-Gen. Muhammed Marwa, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says the agency has secured 3,733 convictions of drug dealers in 24 months.


Marwa, who said this on Wednesday in Abuja while at a news conference on the activities of NDLEA during his tenure, said that 26,458 drug traffickers, including 34 drug barons, were also arrested within the period.


He said that 2,346 convictions were recorded in 2022 alone, the highest in the history of the agency and almost doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of NDLEA.


He added that the agency also counselled 19,401 addicts during the period.


“In 2022, I issued a ‘New Year’ appeal to them (drug offenders) and also warned that those who refused to heed the warning will find themselves in a difficult situation.


“Already, we have 34 barons in our net and they are facing the music in court. We have secured orders for the temporary forfeiture of their assets.


“In these two years, we arrested 26, 458 drug traffickers, among them 34 barons. In 24 months, we successfully prosecuted 3,733 offenders, who were convicted and handed various jail terms in court.


“This is not happenchance but a result of professionalism, determination, commitment and hard work of our officers, men and women,” he said.


Marwa described 2022 as an epochal year, saying that the agency had made giant strides in drug demand reduction.


He said that the inauguration of the NDLEA Drug Abuse Call Centre had broadened access to treatment and rehabilitation.


“It is a year that NDLEA has unprecedented support too, notably from the Governors’ Wives Forum which made commitments to broaden and deepen social efforts to ameliorate the consequences of drug abuse,” he added.


Marwa warned that unrepentant drug barons and cartels would face tougher time in 2023, vowing to ensure that they spent long time in prison, while losing their wealth and assets.


“The signs are clear: We have already in the first two weeks of this year taken down three major drug cartels, one of which has built extensive networks across the world, while at least six of their kingpins are in our custody as I speak.


“The details you will get to know in the coming days.


“We also had support from our international partners, chiefly 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’’, he added.


The NDLEA chief assured Nigerians that the agency was firmly on the task of making Nigeria safe from illicit substances, adding that it was achievable.


He said that NDLEA would sustain its offensive action and shut down the drug routes from other countries into Nigeria.


He also said that the agency would broaden access to treatment and rehabilitation, while carrying Nigerians along in efforts to curb trafficking and abuse of substances in the country.


Marwa warned citizens to be wary in their dealings with people of questionable wealth, saying that the anticipated amendment of the NDLEA Act would strengthen the agency in its drug law enforcement.


“We look forward to arresting more barons and the 34 in the net presently will know their fate in court in the weeks and months ahead.


“The Proceeds of Crime Act 2022 enacted last year has given us new leverage and I will like to remind those who benefit from the proceeds of drug crimes, families, friends and associates, that our investigations are thorough.


“And where we find any link between a drug baron and private citizens, we shall scrutinise their assets. The onus is now on every citizen to be honest in their financial dealings with people whose source of wealth is suspect,” he said.


He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders for their support for the total transformation of the agency.

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