By Michael Olugbode
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), has called for an urgent strengthening of regional and international cooperation to identify and manage emerging new jurisdictional manifestations
of drug trafficking.
Marwa made the appeal yesterday while speaking at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is taking place in Kyoto, Japan.
A statement issued by the NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, quoted Marwa to have told the global audience while speaking for Nigeria on the particular agenda that: “The criminals and organised criminal groups have deployed new strategies through increased online criminal activities in a bid to navigate the global shut down of traditional trafficking routes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need to strengthen regional and international cooperation to identify and manage the various jurisdictional manifestations of this ugly trend.”
Marwa, while updating the world on efforts being made by Nigeria to respond to the drug scourge, said the country “is addressing and countering illicit trafficking in drugs through an integrated and balanced approach implemented under the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), which was first introduced from 2015 to 2019, and now revised for another five years from 2021to 2025.
“The NDCMP outlines strategies to neutralise threats to law enforcement efforts by strengthening regional and international cooperation in countering illicit trade and trafficking in narcotic drugs. One example of such is ‘Operation Eagle’, which was a joint operation with selected countries to counter the menace of illicit drugs.”
The NDLEA boss said: “Nigeria has adopted a holistic national anti-corruption strategy that provides entry point for both state and non-state actors to contribute to the fight against corruption at all levels. We are actively implementing the justice sector reform strategy covering issues such as International Cooperation Mechanisms, Mutual Legal Assistance and reform of the Criminal Justice System. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act enacted in 2015 has expedited trial of corruption cases and resulted in deterrent sanctions for the corrupt people.
“Nigeria recently enacted a Mutual Legal Assistance Law, and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act to create a stand-alone Financial Intelligence Unit. Other necessary legislations such as the Proceeds of Crime and Whistle-Blower Protection bills are receiving urgent attention. We have also launched two significant initiatives, the Open Treasury Initiative, which establishes a financial transparency portal to keep the public informed about financial transactions within a specified threshold, on a daily basis, and a pilot Beneficial Ownership register focused on the extractive sector.”
He stated that the private sector is not left out in the various reforms being introduced by the government.