Friday, 22nd September 2023

NDLEA, Customs sign agreement on curbing Illicit drugs, assure cartels of loss

By Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos) and Sunday Odita (Abuja)
05 April 2023   |   4:01 am
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Retd), yesterday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will inflict maximum loss on drug cartels

Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen. Mohammed Marwa rtd. (left); Controller General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) and Secretary NDLEA, Shedrach Haruna, during the signing of MoU between the NDLEA and Nigerian Customs in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Retd), yesterday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will inflict maximum loss on drug cartels bent on trafficking illicit substances at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Speaking at a brief ceremony held at the NDLEA National Headquarters in Abuja, Marwa expressed delight at the decision by the two government agencies to document their working relationship in an MoU, saying it has huge benefits to the country.

He commended Col. Ali for his excellent record of performance as Customs CG and his past years of public service in the Nigerian army, especially as military governor of Kaduna State.

He said: “I have always known Col. Ali as a patriotic, hardworking and disciplined officer with excellent track record of achievements.

“ This is certainly a benchmark for information and/ or intelligence sharing. It is also a platform for sharing of operational and administrative experiences with a view to adopting best practices that work. With this united front, there can only be one assurance that the criminal elements in our society will definitely be the losers. I assure you that they will certainly lose big, as we come to put them where they rightly belong and cripple their crime syndicates.

“While there is no doubt as to the benefits that this MoU will provide to our two services and the nation at large, it is my hope that its successful execution and implementation will provide the necessary impetus for extension to other sister law enforcement agencies (LEAs) operating at our airports, seaports and land borders. On this basis, it is imperative to drive the implementation of the MoU to ensure that its objectives and derivable are achieved.

“Therefore, on behalf of the NDLEA, I assure you of our commitment to this MoU and intend to provide all the necessary support required to drive the implementation process in order to ensure the realisation of all accruable benefits. As it is usually said, together we stand and remain undefeatable.”

Stating the significance of the MoU, Marwa said the document contains a number of innovations that will encourage interpersonal relationship amongst the rank and file as well as at the various levels of command and administration of the two organisations.

“It provides for joint training of personnel just as it makes provisions for regular meetings of command officers at various levels of our command structures.

“These are the meetings of Commanders/Comptrollers of the various relevant formations, at the relevant directorates/departments of the national headquarters and at the highest level of policy making between the Comptroller-General of Customs and my office, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, which is expected to take place at least twice a year.”

“The expected outcome of these series of interactions is to foster better understanding of the respective roles and mandates of our two organisations and how they complement one another in a mutually inclusive way. The ultimate objective is to dissolve suspicion, friction and general interagency rivalry that does not do our nation any good in terms of effectively securing the entry and exit points of our dear country. This will provide an effective defence line at our various ports of entry/exit to prevent the influx of offensive materials and substances that undermine our national security, and ensure that our national assets are not smuggled out to undermine our economic progress and stability,” the NDLEA boss stated.

In his remarks, the Customs boss, who commended Gen. Marwa for initiating the MoU, said: “This is sending a very strong signal to fighting crime. We believe that coming together shows commitment to saving this nation from drugs and other substances. I want to take this special opportunity to thank my senior for initiating this MoU. I must say something, he is a very committed person. It is not new to us in the uniform to see his strides, for those who have had the opportunity to serve with him. He is a game player and a game changer.

“When my attention was drawn to this initiative, I knew this was the Marwa trend. I thank him for initiating this event, and creating an avenue for us to synergize and come up with a veritable way for fighting drug abuse in this nation.

“The essence of our being here has been underscored by my brother, but I want to reiterate that our coming together does not send a signal only to our nation but to the international partners, that we are committed to protecting our borders from illicit drugs. We have all along been doing this, finding drugs in the borders, but thank God the sole responsibility has been removed from us, and we have some relief. What we do now is that when we arrest the suspects, we hand them over to the NDLEA, where they will be pursued, investigated, and punished severely. The coming of Marwa has given us confidence that the suspects will be handled accordingly.”