By Ejiofor Alike
The British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, working in association with the UK Border Force, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the National Crime Agency (NCA), has donated a Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat was presented to the NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Mr. Ben Llewellyn-Jones on the US Consulate General’s Jetty in Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Tuesday.
The US Consul General, Claire Pierangelo and the Director of Sea Ports, Omolade Faboyede were also in attendance during the hand-over.
The UK Embassy said in a statement issued yesterday that the provision of this fully operational rigid inflatable boat (RHIB) will greatly improve the NDLEA’s already effective capability to patrol and intercept vessels of interest and detect criminality that operates in and around the waterways surrounding Lagos.
According to the statement, the deployment of the NDLEA patrol RHIB will deter criminals and reduce maritime crime such as drug smuggling, piracy, robbery and kidnapping.
It noted that smuggling represents a significant risk to Nigeria, which is a major transit route for large volumes of illicit drugs and trafficked people transported by West African organised crime gangs (OCG’s) in sea freight and commercial vessels to Europe.
“For example, an estimated 125 tonnes of cocaine flows into West Africa each year destined for European markets. And in 2018, 48 per cent of human trafficking victims identified in France were Nigerian, and 80 per cent of all female Nigerian migrants in Italy were likely to fall into the hands of sex traffickers,” the statement explained.
The statement added that the donation is one element of the UK Border Force’s strategy to develop our capacity building activity in Nigeria and is an extension of the UK’s longstanding and successful cooperation with the NDLEA in the fight against organised drug crime in Nigeria.
Speaking at the unveiling event the Head of Mission at the Deputy British High Commission in Lagos, Llewelyn-Jones said:
“Sadly, we know that Nigeria and specifically Lagos port can be both a destination point and a transit location for illegal goods and the illegal movement of people. We have already seen the significant impact that Nigerian law enforcement can have to tackle these crimes.
“We saw this effectiveness as recently as November 2020 at a Lagos beach where the NDLEA Marine Unit seized 704 kilos of cannabis from a fishing vessel that had arrived from Ghana. Many of the illegal goods that enter or pass through Nigeria are destined for Europe and the UK. So, it is also in our interests to continue our longstanding co-operation with the NDLEA and other Nigerian law enforcement agencies more broadly.
“We hope this vessel, and the wider effort and support we are giving, working with the NDLEA and other Nigerian agencies, can help to tackle crime effectively and help to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to account. We would like to especially thank the United States of America’s Consulate General for the use of their Jetty for today’s official handover ceremony.”