JUST IN: UN Pledges Support To NDLEA In Tackling Drug Abuse, Trafficking

UN Pledges Support To NDLEA In Tackling Drug Abuse, Trafficking

UN Pledges Support To NDLEA In Tackling Drug Abuse, Trafficking

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The efforts of the , NDLEA, received a boost, with the assurance by the United Nations to support its onerous task of curbing the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in .

Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Mrs. Amina Mohammed gave the assurance when she paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) at the Agency's headquarters in .

NDLEA's Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi disclosed this through a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja, on Monday.

The Nigeria-born Mrs Mohammed who was accompanied on the visit by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Malick Fall, expressed the willingness of the global body to enhance the impact of the significant efforts of the anti-narcotic agency.

“On behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, we want to reconfirm our support from the United Nations to the work of this agency. It is extremely important, this is coming at a time where the challenges are more complex. The Chairman has spoken about the needs, and we are very pleased to hear that everyone is doing a very good and we hope that we can increase the impact.

“From our conversation with the Chairman, the issue is clear, it involves many other sectors. We talked about the root causes, and the escape is often drugs. That is why it is important for us to work with the rest of government to ensure that all people have a right to their dignity. I see this agency as a symbol that wants to do the job, to succeed. This is a challenge we will be here to support,” the deputy UN scribe said.

She commended Marwa for providing the officers of the NDLEA with exemplary leadership as attested to his years of disciplinary leadership right from his days as a young officer.

“I just have to commend the leadership you have here, the leadership we have known for a very long time. When we were much younger, we used to look up to the Marwa that led from the front with example and discipline. We see the discipline now in your officers as we walk into the office and there is a difference. We need more of that.

“This is the only country that we have. And we must harness the potential through the work that we do. What we want to do is support with whatever that we can, to ensure a greater and better Nigeria that takes its position, not only in Africa but worldwide,” she added.

While appreciating the UN deputy scribe, Marwa said the visit will go on record as the first visit in history to NDLEA by the highest echelon of the United Nations.

“We not only commend you for this but also in equal measure, your string of impressive , whether when you served as at home or at the global stage where you're currently serving as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. Thank you for being a shining light and a good ambassador of not only Nigeria, but the African continent and indeed the black race world over,” Marwa said.

Marwa emphasised that the twin problem of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking remains one of the ferocious threats to public health and national security despite the significant efforts being made by the NDLEA in the areas of drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction in Nigeria.

“With the dire consequences of the menace steering us in the , upon my assumption of leadership in 2021, we have moved swiftly to halt the spiral turn of the situation and between then and end of 2023, we have been able to make over 48,157 arrests including 46 drug barons with a total of 8,350 already successfully prosecuted and convicted while 7,500 tons of illicit drugs were seized from them and 1,057 hectares of cannabis farms destroyed deep in the forests in parts of the country,” the NDLEA said.

Similarly, Gen Marwa stressed that the anti-narcotic agency has put in place a strong mechanism to raise public awareness about the dangers of drug abuse through a social advocacy campaign initiative, the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA.

In addition, he added that the NDLEA is providing treatment and counselling to drug users in commands across the country, through which over 29,400 persons have been counselled and treated within the same period.

“This is why your coming today affords us the opportunity to share with you some of the things you can use your good office and the huge platform of the UN to facilitate to enhance what we are doing and plan to achieve,” he said.

He mentioned such support to include conduct of another drug use survey that will give the agency a better assessment of its status six years after the last survey; procurement of mechanical tools to destroy cannabis farms as against the current manual system; procurement of incinerators to destroy tons of illicit drugs seized as against the current open air burning.

This, he noted not good for the environment and public health while also seeking the support for Alternative Development programme and modern forensic equipment needed in the agency's old and new laboratories, among others.

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