Marwa: NDLEA Wants Life Jail for Drug Law Violations

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*Proposes cancellation of fine option in amendment to Act
*Says N100bn worth of illicit drugs mopped up in ten months

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), has disclosed that the agency was recommending the maximum punishment of life imprisonment for drug law offenders in the proposed amendment to the NDLEA Act currently before the National Assembly.

Marwa, who disclosed this yesterday during the weekly ministerial briefing, coordinated by the Presidential Media Team, at the State House, Abuja, explained that the proposed Amendment Act would eliminate the fine option for offenders.

According to the former Lagos and Borno States Military Administrator, in the proposed Amendment Act, the minimum sentence for drug law offences would be 15 years, while the maximum would be between 25 years and life in prison.

His words: “The jail sentences we’re looking at is a minimum of 15, maximum 25 and life. Those are all in the NDLEA Act that is under revision at National Assembly.”
He also said he had discovered a criminal racket, which had been making it possible for already jailed drug barons to go free without serving their sentences.

On whether politicians would be affected by the said penalties, Marwa said, “Definitely. At least we’ve mentioned one in Lagos, because he was caught with drugs at this point, but I will not mention names of people that we’re investigating, obviously. The politicians, yes, they are involved like every other part of the society.

“We’re working with the prisons. There was a time and there was information that some of the barons, who had been jailed, somewhere between the courtroom and the jail, they are released, they don’t serve the sentence.

“But with the interaction that I had in the correctional services, right from them and some of the visitations, it was made clear that this happened, but in the past – in the distant past. Now, the correctional service is upstanding and they are doing their level best.

“We had an arrest some few months ago in one of the prisons, supported by the head of that particular prison, about involvement of some of the people there in passing drugs into the prisons. So, I must commend the correctional services that they are upstanding as far as this is concerned,”
Marwa, however, estimated the worth of drugs and cash recovered in the last 10 months from barons at over N100billion, confirming that the amount has been remitted into the federation account.

He stated that between January 25, 2021 till date, more than 2.7million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs have been seized.

The NDLEA boss further disclosed that one out of seven Nigerians use illicit drugs, while one in four are female and 14.4million Nigerians are currently under the influence of illicit drugs.

He estimated the number of drug related offences filed in court at over 5000, involving 9,355 arrested traffickers, including six drug barons.