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Let’s target drug cartel assets- Marwa

Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd) has charged other Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa to target the assets of cartels as a veritable tool to weaken criminal narco networks.

He gave the charge today while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the virtual extraordinary session for Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies to share experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the world drug problem.

According to him, the disruption of the traditional criminal trafficking routes meant that law enforcement personnel must be familiar with new technologies, techniques, and strategies employed by organized criminal groups and traffickers.

To achieve this, he said, there was an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation in identifying and managing evolving challenges in drug trafficking, adding that, they must continue to weaken criminal drug networks through effective asset tracing and confiscation.

“We should, therefore, deepen international cooperation to address the increasing links between transnational organized crime, corruption, illicit financial flows, trafficking in drugs, and related crimes. Let us not spare any effort in eliminating barriers to effective collaboration as we demonstrate commitment to our shared responsibilities.”

While stating that Nigeria had remained dynamic in her counter-narcotic operations in line with the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire by drug trafficking cartels to explore new markets and routes in furtherance of their criminal activities, Gen. Marwa stressed that steps were being taken to tackle the online distribution of narcotic drugs.

“In the last eight months, Nigeria has made over 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilograms of drugs seized with over N100billion in cash and seized drugs.”

He listed other proactive steps taken by Nigeria to address and counter the various aspects of the drug problem to including the development of the 4th edition of the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, with four strategic pillars namely: Supply reduction, Demand reduction, Access to Controlled Medicines for medical purposes, Governance and Coordination.

“Nigeria is committed to strengthening regional alliances which in the short term could be fostered through Memoranda of Understanding between our different agencies in the African Continent and beyond. A good example was the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEA)”

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen, editing by Abdullahi Lamino