The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), yesterday warned that Nigeria could no longer fold its hands and watch the rising cases of drug use in the country.
He noted that the current unacceptable level of drug abuse in the country must stop, promising that it is the task of the agency to stop the menace.
The newly-appointed NDLEA boss, in his inaugural address in Abuja, said: “I would like to warn those who engage in the dastardly trade of importation, export, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, trafficking, sale and consumption of illicit substances to stop forthwith or be prepared to contend with the NDLEA.”
According to him, as the lead agency in the drug war in Nigeria, “You are all too familiar with the extent of devastation that drug use has caused our nation. Drug use has eaten very deep into our social fabric as every community in Nigeria is affected.
“It needs repeating that the number of drug users in Nigeria now of all ages must be well over 15 million. If we extrapolate the figures of the recent UNODC survey of 2018 where 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15-64 were found to be drug users, at that time nearly three times the global prevalence.”
Marwa, who officially resumed duty at the agency’s headquarters said the NDLEA will be overhaul and expanded in line with the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) recommendations, existing financial constraints and the authorisation of the appropriate superior authorities.
“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 Masterplan 2021-2025 to be released soon, as our roadmap.
“Discipline must remain our priority and topmost. It is the bedrock of an organisation such as ours. With my military background, you know what to expect,” he added.
He reassured NDLEA personnel that their welfare, including cases of stagnation in rank, training and postings will be given utmost attention.
“Also, operational and logistical inadequacies in the service will be looked into. The NDLEA will safeguard the nation and our youths from the drug menace. That is a task that must be done,” Marwa said.