Chairman/Chief Executive of Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has lamented that Nigeria’s drug addiction is thrice the global average.
Marwa who ordered for the rooting out of drug barons and cartels from their various hideouts across the country, said: “The drug scourge in Nigeria is unacceptable with almost 15 million Nigerians abusing substances, 20 percent of who are addicted, which is three times the global average.”
The NDLEA boss, said: “We are conscious of our job to block and prevent availability of narcotic drugs, and that necessitated the formation of the Strike Force to enhance our capability for complex operations. The Strike Force is the tip of our spear in our interdiction efforts and as such we must keep the tip sharpened and always ready to strike because we need to be two steps ahead of drug barons and cartels operating in the country.”
Marwa who gave the charge for the rooting out of the drug barons and cartels on Monday to officers and men of the agency’s Strike Force Corps at the Graduation Ceremony of 143 officers from the Special Operations Training at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, NASI, Jaji, Kaduna State.
He said: “With the training and graduation of these officers and men today, we serve a notice to the drug barons and cartels who are yet to get the message to quit the criminal trade that these well trained officers and men are coming to smoke them out as a formidable force anywhere in the country. As we equip and arm you well, be ruthless with the criminal gangs and merchants of death. Equally, I will implore you to display professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights in your operations.”
Marwa while disclosing that another batch of officers and men of NDLEA would be sent to NASI for similar training in the coming weeks, commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and the Armed Forces for the successes recorded so far in the fight against insecurity in the country.
He however tasked them not to rest on their oars, noting that “fighting insecurity is not like a football match that ends at the end of 90 minutes.”
Marwa, while reminding the new graduands of their position within the agency, said: “Note that the special nature of your training will require you to serve as a force multiplier to the conventional NDLEA officers in the field.”
He said: Let me warn you of the hazard along the way. It will come in various forms, ranging from physical assaults to stupendous temptations by traders and traffickers of illicit drugs. When the tempests arise, rise above them. Let your sense of duty remain uncompromised. Let patriotism prevail over pecuniary interest. Let no temptation prevent you from discharging your duties to the best of your ability. In whatever situation you find yourself, remember to not forgo your training about the rules of engagement, especially the respect for human rights.”
He added that: “It is also important that you always bear in mind that there is little or no margin of error in the execution of your task as the safety of all NDLEA officers on assignment, including yourself, will, at times, depend on the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the Strike Force team providing cover for the mission. On such occasion, your training will be called to test.”
In his remarks, Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Maj. Gen. M.G. Ali, commended Marwa for repositioning NDLEA for efficiency and relevance within the country’s security architecture. He said the training, as the first of its kind will enhance the Agency’s capability to handle more complex challenges in its task of tackling drug barons and cartels.
Other top Army Chiefs at the ceremony include the Commander, Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Maj. Gen. Victor Ezeugwu and Commandant, Martins Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre, Maj. Gen. A.J. Fagae among others.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja