As Drug War Becomes Fire for Fire

As Drug War Becomes Fire for Fire

 By Emmanuel Onwubiko

In most jurisdictions around the globe, governments are tightening the noose on hard drug barons and traffickers.

These wars are actually very expensive and a lot are involved including the attendant risks in the enforcement of counter narcotics laws. Many drugs law enforcement operatives have paid the Supreme prices for these intensive battles against trafficking in hard drugs and illicit substances.

In Nigeria, the Drug war has entered a stage I can call a FIRE FOR FIRE phase with drug barons arming their foot soldiers to attack operatives of the NDLEA who are engaging in massive chase of these daredevil traffickers and barons of hard drugs in Nigeria. The Nigerian government should immediately increase the funding lifeline of the NDLEA and legislate that funding for the NDLEA should be derived directly from source or rather directly from the Federation account. This is exactly how the enforcement authority that battle hard drug traffickers in the USA are funded.

In the USA, the war on hard drugs is a trillion Dollars war.

For instance, the United States  of America has spent over a trillion dollars fighting the war on drugs. 50 years later, drug use in the U.S. is climbing again. So reports the CNBC.

On June 17th 2021, CNBC published a news story regarding the extraordinary war on hard drugs in the USA and affirmed that the year 2021 June marked the 50th anniversary of the war on drugs, an ongoing campaign that has to a large extent reshaped American politics, society and the economy.

″[The goals of the war on drugs] were to literally eradicate all of the social, economic and health ills associated with drugs and drug abuse,” said Christopher Coyne, professor of economics at George Mason University. “It doesn’t get much more ambitious than that.”

Since 1971, America has spent over a trillion dollars enforcing its drug policy, according to research from the University of Pennsylvania. Yet many observers, both liberal and conservative, say the war on drugs has not paid off.

The campaign, launched by President Richard Nixon, has spanned multiple administrations and led to the creation of a dedicated federal agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Law enforcement was given an unprecedented level of authority with measures like mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants, recently reevaluated after the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in a botched drug raid.

“The drug war is a failed policy and the things that they said would happen — people would stop using drugs, communities would get back together, we’d be safe, they’d get drugs off the street — those things didn’t happen,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director at the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit that works to end the war on drugs.

Nigeria, similarly, is tightening the noose on drug barons especially since Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa(rtd, CON) came on board about a couple of years ago.

Brigadier General Marwa (rtd). holds a distinguished educational background, having graduated from the Nigerian Military School and the Nigerian Defence Academy.

He continued his education at the United States Army Infantry School and the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.

With a solid foundation in military education and training, Brigadier General Marwa brought with him a phenomenal wealth of experience to his role in leading the NDLEA.

His academic achievements, coupled with a notable career in the military, equipped him to address the complex challenges associated with combating drug trafficking and abuse.

Recently, the NDLEA under the headship of General Marwa struck a deal for a joint war on drugs with the Nigerian Customs Service which recently came under a very reputable leadership of a fresh Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi. NDLEA and the Defence headquarters of the armed forces of Nigeria have also similarly entered an agreement to work as partners to eradicate hard drugs in Nigeria.  Let us read a brief resume of the head of Nigeria Customs and then we conclude with the News of the partnership agreement entered into by the Defence headquarters and the NDLEA.

The current Comptroller General of NIGERIAN Custom reportedly has a diverse and extensive educational background, showcasing his commitment to professional development. He holds a Master of Arts in Communication Science from the Universitaire Svizzera D’Italiana (USI) in Lugano, Switzerland, which he attained in November 2013. Additionally, he earned a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in June 1987.

Mr. Adeniyi has complemented his academic achievements with various professional courses and certifications, reflecting his dedication to staying abreast of contemporary issues and enhancing his leadership skills. Notable among these are executive programs in Customs and Business Administration from Seoul National University (SNU) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), as well as leadership and management development programs from esteemed institutions like Harvard Kennedy School and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Furthermore, he has actively contributed to academic discourse through presentations and papers on topics ranging from customs operations and crisis communication to regional security and combating illicit financial flows. Nigerian Customs’ Bashir Adewale Adeniyi’s comprehensive educational and professional portfolio underscores his commitment to excellence and continuous learning in his roles within the Nigerian Customs Service. I will return to brainstorm on what the Customs and NDLEA just did to showcase their joint determination to wrestle to the ground the drug barons that have refused to turn a new leaf. First, let me advertise our minds to a very recent breakthrough made by the operatives of the nation’s counter narcotics agency: the NDLEA.

The cheering news is that the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested a Brazil returnee, Udechukwu Ekene Theophilus at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos for ingesting 60 big wraps of cocaine. This piece of delightful news was broken by the NDLEA’s versatile and strategic media communications expert: Femi Babafemi, formerly of the Sun newspapers.

The suspect who was arrested during inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the D-Arrival Hall of the Lagos airport on Sunday 21st January 2024, initially refused to undergo body scan, raising health concerns in a desperate bid to evade arrest.

When he was however offered other options, he accepted to be placed on excretion observation and shortly after he was ushered into NDLEA observatory, he excreted the first set of cocaine pellets, after which he expelled a total of 60 wraps of the class A drug weighing 1.279 kilograms in five excretions. In his statement, Udechukwu claimed he ingested the consignment in Brazil and was to discharge everything at the airport in Addis Ababa but could only excrete 15 pellets which he handed over to another member of his syndicate before his connecting flight to Nigeria was called.

In the same vein, NDLEA operatives at the Lagos airport on Tuesday 23rd January recovered a total of twelve (12) cartons of tramadol 225mg containing five hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred (599,900) pills weighing 385.40kg from an overstayed cargo at the SAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport after a joint examination with other agencies.

The tramadol consignment had come into the country in two batches on KLM Royal Dutch Airline flights from Karachi, Pakistan between 27th July and 1st August 2023. They were however placed under watch by NDLEA operatives since then.

Not less than 822 kilograms of cannabis sativa hidden in a fuel station located at Ashipa community along Badagry-Seme road were recovered by operatives of the Seme Special Area Command of NDLEA, while a suspect Sani Audu, 35, was arrested with 111.3kg of same substance at Maigatari town in Jigawa State on Tuesday 23rd January.

In Yobe state, two suspects: Mohammed Usman and Adamu Ma’azu were arrested on Saturday 27th January with 49 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 50kg at Damaturu motor park, Damaturu, while the duo of Paul Obor, 38, and Dennis Fuokorighe, 48, who were arrested on Wednesday 24th Jan. at a Navy check point, Itobe, Ofu LGA, Kogi state with 318 compressed blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 190.8kg concealed in a gold colour Honda Accord Car marked RBC 449AE, were handed over to the Kogi state command of the Agency on Friday 26th Jan. by men of the Nigeria Navy Ship, Lugard, Lokoja.

In Kano, a suspect, Shamwilu Idris, 29, was arrested at Gadar Tamburawa area on Thursday 25th January with 271kg cannabis following the seizure of an abandoned 28.1kg of same substance at Rijiyar Lemo area of the state on Wednesday 24th Jan. Another suspect, Abubakar Haruna Salisu, 24, was nabbed at Kotun Wambai, Yan Awaki, area of Kano on Friday 26th January with 600 bottles of codeine-based syrup while a total of 1, 306 blocks of cannabis weighing 886kg seized by the Police at Kwanar Dangora, area of the state were transferred to the Agency on Wednesday 24th Jan.

A total of 87 compressed blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 73kg as well as 21, 346 pills of tramadol and 3,800 tablets of diazepam were recovered from a suspect, Musa Galadima on Friday 26th January when his DAF truck marked GME 971 XD was intercepted at Lafiyawo, along Gombe – Bauchi road by NDLEA operatives. In Plateau state, Aminu Ubanta, 35, was nabbed on Saturday 27th January with 5.355kg cannabi at Layin Zana area of Jos.

Meanwhile, an ex-beauty queen, Ms. Aderinoye Queen Christmas also known as Ms. Queen Oluwadamilola Aderinoye has been declared wanted by the Agency after she escaped from her Lekki, Lagos residence when NDLEA operatives raided her apartment at Oral estate, Lekki on Wednesday 24th January following credible intelligence she deals in illicit substances. The suspect was Miss Commonwealth Nigeria Culture 2015/2016 and founder of Queen Christmas Foundation. Recovered from her home during the search witnessed by the estate officials include 606 grams of Canadian Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis, an electronic weighing scale, large quantities of drugs packing plastics, a black RAV 4 SUV marked Lagos KSF 872 GQ, and her picture frame among others.

Two members of an international drug trafficking syndicate: Sunday Michael Owoborode, 52, and Valentine Anene were arrested the next day Thursday 25th January at Edu Orita, Ogun state where Valentine was being prepared to travel with some drugs to Qatar same day on board a Qatar airline flight from Lagos. At the time of their arrest, 1.8kg cannabis, electronic weighing scale and other illicit substances were found on them. In another interdiction operation by operatives in Lagos, a 50-year-old Sunday Adediran, was arrested on Wednesday 24th January with 20kg cannabis sativa found in one of the rooms in his house at Mushin Olosha.  These and many other laudable achievements were recorded by the NDLEA in just the last few weeks. The NDLEA and the Nigerian military will henceforth work in synergy on the war on drugs.

The Nigerian military has promised to strengthen its synergy with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to curtail the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.

The assurance was given on Monday 18th December 2023 by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) at the Agency’s National Headquarters in Abuja.

In his remarks, Marwa commended the Nigerian Armed Forces under the leadership of the CDS for their loyalty, sacrifices and hard work to keep the country safe. He also thanked the military for supporting the Agency in terms of logistics and training.

Then on the partnership of Customs and the NDLEA, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi have commended the synergy between the two law enforcement agencies, saying the collaboration is a strong warning to drug cartels that they’ll continue to lose their investments in the criminal trade.

The duo spoke at the Tincan Seaport in Lagos on Thursday 25th January 2024 when the Customs CG led his team to hand over illicit drugs seized during joint examination by NDLEA, Customs and other security agencies of containers the anti-narcotic agency had been tracking based on credible intelligence from international partners.

In his remarks, Marwa who was represented at the ceremony by the Agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said the “handing over of seized illicit drugs in custody of the Nigeria Customs Service is a development that speaks volumes about the hard work and diligence of security agencies tasked with securing the territory of our country. The seizure is a testament that, just like the airports, the sea ports are also secured.”

“That we are here today doing this is a testament to the cooperation we received from the Nigeria Customs Service. This level of cooperation between NDLEA and Customs, as well as other security agencies and port stakeholders, is a strong signal to drug cartels that our ports and indeed Nigeria, will not be a haven for their criminal business. The synergy between Customs and NDLEA would further ensure the closing of other loopholes that criminal elements may have capitalised on in the past years to smuggle illicit items into our country.”

With all these commendable partnerships, if all things been equal, Nigeria will sooner rather than later begin to harvest the enormous benefits of these professional partnerships wrapped in plausible patriotic tendencies

2 thoughts on “As Drug War Becomes Fire for Fire

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