HomeABUJANDLEA Scores 3,733 Convictions In 24 Months, Promises Drug Dealers Tougher 2023

NDLEA Scores 3,733 Convictions In 24 Months, Promises Drug Dealers Tougher 2023

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Elated at the record-setting exploits posted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) under his watch in the areas of drug dealers’ arrests and convictions, its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, retired Brigadier-General Muhammed Marwa, is boasting that the agency will dispense tougher times ahead for the aberrates.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the activities of the NDLEA during his tenure, Marwa said that the agency has secured 3,733 convictions of drug dealers in 24 months.

He explained 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 NDLEA’s history.

This almost doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of the agency.

The NDLEA, according to him, also counselled 19,401 addicts within the review period.

“In 2022, I issued a New Year appeal to them 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,” Marwa said.

Describing 2022 as an epoch year, the NDLEA boss posited that the agency had taken a giant leap 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, promising to ensure that they spend long time in prison and lose their wealth and assets.

In his words: “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 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crim), 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.’’

The NDLEA boss assured Nigerians that the agency was firmly on track to making Nigeria safe from illicit substances, stressing that this was achievable.

The NDLEA, according to him, would sustain its offensive action and shut down the drug route from other countries into Nigeria.

He further pledged that the agency would broaden access to treatment and rehabilitation and carry Nigerians along on the journey to curb trafficking and abuse of substances in the country.

Marwa counselled the citizenry to be wary in their dealings with people of questionable wealth, noting that the anticipated amendment of the NDLEA Act would strengthen the arm of 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 Proceed 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, this time, 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,’’ the NDLEA boss said.

Marwa acknowledged the support of President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders in the NDLEA’s total transformation.

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