The Federal Government has disclosed that plans have been concluded to go after assets of drug traffickers and cartels as a veritable tool that would weaken criminal narco networks in the country and cut them off their supply chains.
It explained that the move had been considered to win war against drug traffickers and cartels, noting that the government would spare no efforts in exploiting seizing assets of the drug lords to weaken their operations.
The government, through the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, assured the international community of Nigeria’s preparedness and determination to go after the assets of drug barons.
This, he said, also included illegal drug and substances traffickers in any part of the country. Marwa gave the assurance in his presentation at the ongoing third committee session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, U.S.
The NDLEA boss, in a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, said that Nigeria remained undaunted in adopting dynamic strategies to counter new approaches adopted by organised criminals in order to make drug trafficking unattractive.
This, he said, would ensure forfeiture of the criminally derived assets, which was a tested and powerful deterrent to the proliferation of drug crimes and criminalities. Marwa said that Nigeria had exhibited the political will by demonstrating high commitment to the protection of public health and safety with the launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign.
He added that it was however, a call for civil action for all Nigerians to buy in and take full ownership of the fight against the menace of illicit drugs. Marwa said that the Nigeria’s Drug Control efforts have received a tremendous thrust with unprecedented stakeholders’ involvement; “we have engaged civil society groups, non- governmental organisations, academia and governments at all levels.
“Public enlightenment is also being strengthened with remarkable media visibility, even as the youths are regularly sensitised on social media platforms on the ugly consequences of illicit drugs and related criminalities. Our consistent targeting of drug trafficking Organisations has resulted in the arrest of 8,634 suspected drug traffickers and the seizure of over N100 billion in cash and drugs within the first eight months of this year. Perpetrators will go through the Criminal Justice system, with their fundamental human rights, being strictly upheld,” he assured.
The NDLEA boss expressed appreciation to all the international partners, who in the spirit of shared responsibility, deserved to be appreciated. He commended them for their great support through technical assistance, information and intelligence sharing, capacity building and training.
This, he said, was specifically in the area of countering the use of information and communication technology for criminal purposes, which had given great boost to the counter narcotic strategies.
“Nigeria is happy to report the European Union (EU) funded, United Nations on Drug and Crime (UNODC) sponsored Cannabis cultivation Survey. This is expected to bring to the fore, the full extent of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria, and make it easier to target measures to contain this perennial menace,” he said.
Marwa told the global gathering that appropriate strategies have also been adopted to address the issue of stigmatisation of people who used drugs. This, he said, including meeting the needs of vulnerable communities and groups such as women, girls, children (out of school and homeless), internally displaced persons (IDPs) and so on.
“It is worthy of mention here, that one of the challenges of the pandemic is the proliferation of On-Line sale of drug cookies and use of courier services to move illicit drugs. However, we were able to intercept, trace and dismantle most of the drug cells involved. Part of the successes of Nigeria’s drug war efforts was the recent “first seizure of 74.119kg of Captagon brand of Amphetamine, presumably destined for use. Also, to fuel insurgency and other violent crimes and criminalities, which Nigeria is currently grappling with, ” he said.