Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) has given a hint that his agency will seek the government’s approval to conduct drug tests on new students of tertiary institutions, security agencies’ fresh recruits and all newly appointed government employees.
Marwa has also given commanders of the agency in all the states of the federation and special commands marching orders to mop up illicit drugs across the country.
He stated these yesterday during a meeting with commanders of the 36 states, FCT and special commands at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
While informing the commanders who briefed him on their posts and areas of responsibility that he is honoured and proud to serve as Chairman of NDLEA, he said all commanders must be desirous of keeping drugs out of Nigerian streets and homes, insisting that, “all of you must shape up and get all those engaged in the nefarious business to face the music, and I need results from now on.
“Our maxim will be offensive action. This means we must go all out constantly on the offensive against the bad guys,” he said.
According to him, “the success we make of this particular task goes a long way to determine the socio-economic stability of the nation. We need not be told of the nexus between drug use, crime and criminalities. The exponential growth of the nefarious drug activities can be directly linked to the upsurge in crimes such as insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping, cultism, political thuggery, gangsterism, rape and other maladaptation bedeviling today’s Nigeria.”
He noted that it is not going to be business as usual.
“It is a moving train. Please, let nobody stand in its front. The train will crush any such person. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. To the unbending drug crime perpetrators, I would like to let them know also that the game is up! It is high time they embraced another trade. The Federal Government Policy on Agriculture is a window for them to leverage on,” he added.
He said he would soon propose to the government the necessity for drug tests for all tertiary institutions resuming students, NYSC members, new workers, all security agencies new recruits and random tests for government appointees.
“NDLEA is ready to help and we must help,” he added.
Marwa who also expressed his determination to run with the ‘National Drug Control Master Plan, Our Road Map,’ said toll-free call centres/ helplines will soon be set up for the use of Nigerians ready to give information or seek intervention from the agency.
“Ours is a national assignment. Drug has littered everywhere; every community. We will lead the fight and we will succeed. Make no mistake about it, it’s a collective effort,” he told the commanders.
Continuing, he said: “As I made it known in my inaugural address here at the headquarters last week, the task ahead is well spelt out even as it is onerous. Drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking have become the nation’s worst nightmare with more 14.3 million Nigerians involved in drug use, according to the UNODC drug survey 2018.
“This figure is about the highest, globally. Reversing this ugly trend is non-negotiable and we must do so speedily.”
He also promised some overhauling of the agency, adding that his aim is to reposition the NDLEA to make it more purposeful, resourceful and aggressive in pursuing its target.
He handed over 10 Hilux vehicles donated by the International Narcotics Law Enforcement Agency of USA in conjunction with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to state commanders to improve work in the states.