By Emeka Obasi
Something different must come the way of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) following Ambassador Mohammed Buba Marwa’s appointment as Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer. I saw him resume, wearing shirt and long pants.
Marwa did not storm office in suits or flowing gown, the one a Turkish hotel attendant described as Flying parachute sometime in 1993 when Chief Ernest Shonekan visited Istanbul. An expatriate military instructor at Teshie, Ghana called it pyjamas.
The much I know of the NDLEA is that they are always after Indian hemp farmers, from Abi, Delta State to the bushes of Ondo. Once in a while, they raid brothels in Kano in search of Tramadol and codeine addicts. In Lagos, I believe operatives concentrate on the international airport.
Of course, all these are part of their job. We watch on TV how couriers hide cocaine and heroine in the hood of their bodies. Some use shoes and even books to conceal illicit drugs. Many of them disappear from our radar after the routine parade.
Marwa should bring something different. Beyond drug barons, he needs to focus more on thousands of Nigerians who have become more dangerous than the jumbo lords of the illicit trade. These younger ones are the reason bloodletting has become part of everyday news in the country.
I really do not consider a marijuana smoker a security risk. Anyone who goes beheading people after a puff of ganja must be crazy. We should not blame it on what he smoked. In Jamaica, they do not do as much belly cutting as we witness in Nigeria. Marijuana is safer than cigarette.
The higher Bob Marley went, the better for Reggae music. I did not see Fela Anikulapo Kuti butcher people. The musicians whose life turned from good to bad can only blame their misfortune on other sources, not Indian hemp.There is nothing like insurgency in Jamaica.
We are in deep trouble in the country. All those unleashing terror are high on cocaine, heroine, tramadol and codeine. Killer herders, bandits, kidnapers, ritualists, cultists and insurgents cannot operate without filling their system with these drugs.
What I expect of Marwa is to change the NDLEA to a fighting force. It is a matter of discussing the NDLEA Act with lawyers. I am sure the Agency has a solid legal department. I am also aware that all Marwa’s four children from his first wife, Zainab, nee Agbaso, are lawyers.
If the Act needs to be amended, fine. The National Assembly is there to do the needful even if lobbying needs to be applied. Marwa is a politician, from Michika in Adamawa. He should know how to deal with the lawmakers in Abuja.
The new NDLEA normal should be to raid not just forests and creeks. Nite clubs, students parties, late night political gatherings and street carnivals must be monitored. Motor parks and night markets should also come under surveillance.
NDLEA should partner with the military for proper training because they are dealing with criminals who are also well trained and sophisticated. I think the Citadel Counter Narcotics school in Jos should be highly militarised and another depot established down South.
The new Sheriff in town has a lot going for him. He is Fulani, married to an Igbo woman and is so well known in Yoruba land. Even Iya Biliki, the pure water hawker rides on Keke Marwa as she rushes to Jankara Market. Marwa was governor of Lagos.
The Excellency tag began in Borno where Marwa was governor between 1990 and 1992. He was also High Commissioner to South Africa. These assignments should help out now. Boko Haram in the North -East cannot be cutting heads under clear conditions. Drugs must be at work.
Marwa is a retired Army One- Star general. His younger brother quit as a general too and their father left as a captain.One of Marwa’s sons is a Lt. Col. As a member of Nigerian Defence Academy , Regular Course Three, 1971, the NDLEA boss would have no problem partnering with the Navy. Six of his mates retired as Rear Admirals.
In the Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal S.E. Hedima feels the pain of insurgency. Group Capt. Chima Nwankwo is still around. Both can press buttons for their course mate even in retirement. If NDLEA operatives are going on a raid, Armed Forces personnel could support.
For more financial backing, Marwa is well-positioned to meet some state governors. Adm. Anthony Bob- Manuel could take him to Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. General Cletus Emein will lead the visit to Creek Haven, Yenegoa. Imo is even easier.
In Owerri, Marwa is a worthy in-law. Cdre Acholonu hails from there, Cdre Anthony Oguguo was governor too. The naval officers, like, Marwa belong to the same NDA set. They will take him to Governor Hope Uzodinma for express assistance.
It won’t be easy to effect change. This is why the NDLEA boss should create a formidable Media Directorate. People will look for scandals when things begin to work for good. Former NDLEA chairmen got a dose too much. Fidelis Oyakhilome would not forget Jennifer Madike.
Musa Bamaiyi was accused of snatching his brother’s wife when junkies and barons felt the heat. Bello Lafiaji and Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo did not agree. Mohammed Abdallah was alleged to have been involved in recruitment. Marwa must save us from having more Pablo Escobars.