*Says war against illicit drugs is fight to finish
By Kingsley Omonobi— ABUJA
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Buba Marwa (Retd) has disclosed that 90% of criminalities in Nigeria are linked to drug abuse and as such the war against the menace of illicit drug trafficking, peddling and abuse is a fight to finish with him in the saddle of the lead agency.
Marwa spoke on Monday at three different fora, where he met with various stakeholders in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
Addressing men and officers of the Port Harcourt International Airport Command of the NDLEA along with officials of other security agencies and stakeholders that operate at the airport, Marwa reminded them that the airports and seaports serve as the gateway for importation and exportation of illicit drugs.
He noted that as such they need to work in synergy to ensure that no hard drug enters or goes out of the country through their area of responsibility.
He said: “We need to secure our country from the menace of drug abuse by working together. For us in the new NDLEA, this is a fight to finish.
“We can’t allow this country to be destroyed by criminalities. All those involved in this criminal act must be fished out and punished.”
At the Onne seaport, Marwa told a gathering of the stakeholders operating at the port including men and officers of the agency that “90% of all criminalities in Nigeria today ranging from banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, rape and others are linked to the use of illicit drugs.
“Nobody in his right sense will take up arms to kidnap, rape and kill innocent people. Therefore, if we are able to tackle the issue of drug abuse, most of the security challenges the nation is facing now would have been solved.
“We also need to take this war as a battle to save our children and women, and ultimately our society and the country at large.”
He urged them to be vigilant and ensure “no drug goes out or comes in through Onne seaport because any little drug that escapes into the society can do great damage to our families and our country as a whole.”
He also addressed another stakeholders meeting comprising men and officers of the Rivers State Command of NDLEA at the Command’s headquarters, along with Christian and Islamic leaders as well as the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW in Rivers state.
Marwa told them: “Our society is a religious one and as such our religious leaders must use their privileged position to make the campaign against drug abuse part of your sermons in the churches and mosques.
“I want you to come out with a loud voice against the menace because if we don’t all rise up against the menace now, by 2050, not less than 30 million Nigerians will be on drugs and that is too dangerous for the future of this great country.”
He urged the NURTW leaders to mobilise their members against using drugs and transporting same for traffickers.
“NURTW must cut out the use of drug and its transportation by its members across the country.”
He assured the gathering that “for us in NDLEA, we are going all out for the small and the big; both the users, traffickers and barons.
“The arrest in Lagos last week of a baron who has been on the run for 10 years confirms that we’ll not spare anyone no matter how long they have been in the trade, they can no longer hide from the long arms of the law.”
All the stakeholders, especially the religious leaders and the road transport union officials assured Marwa of their support in the renewed fight against drug menace in Rivers state in particular and the country at large.
They said they were happy to be part of the meeting and given Marwa’s antecedents and that they were excited about the record seizures and arrests made since he took over the leadership of the Agency about a month ago.