HURIWA Commends NDLEA’s Dynamic Asset Seizure Policy

HURIWA Commends NDLEA’s Dynamic Asset Seizure Policy

… Urges National Support Against Rising Drug Threat

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed grave concern over projections indicating a significant rise in drug intake in Africa, particularly Nigeria, by 2030.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug use on the continent is expected to surge by 40%, driven predominantly by the burgeoning youth population. HURIWA noted that this alarming forecast necessitates immediate and robust action to prevent an impending public health crisis.

Additionally, HURIWA advocated for national dailies to allocate a small section of their front or back pages to carry leaflets from the NDLEA. These leaflets should educate Nigerians on the dangers of hard drugs, provided free of charge as part of the media’s corporate social responsibility.

Similarly, the civil rights advocacy group enthused that television and radio stations should grant the NDLEA at least one minute of free airtime daily to campaign against drug abuse, stressing that these efforts will significantly amplify public awareness and contribute to the broader societal push against drug trafficking and abuse.

In a press statement on Thursday, HURIWA applauded the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for its innovative and effective strategy of seizing the assets of drug barons and traffickers.

The association highlighted that this measure is a testament to the Nigerian government’s commitment, under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, to combating the trafficking of hard drugs.

They emphasized that the recent remarks by NDLEA Chairman, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), highlight the agency’s relentless efforts and successes in the war against drug cartels since the offensive began in January 2021.

“Marwa, speaking at a press conference in Abuja on June 19, 2024, to kick off the week-long activities for the International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, emphasized the strategic importance of targeting the financial lifelines of drug traffickers.

 He noted that the agency’s approach has been fortified by the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2022, which enables the forfeiture of assets linked to criminal activities.

This legal framework ensures that the burden of proving the legitimate origin of assets falls on the defendants, thereby strengthening the NDLEA’s case in court and contributing to a high conviction rate,” HURIWA underscored.

While asserting that this approach is a demonstration of the Tinubu administration’s determination to eradicate the scourge of hard drugs from Nigerian society, HURIWA called on the National Assembly to pass necessary amendments to the NDLEA Act, which would confer greater funding and operational autonomy to the agency.

They underlined that this legislative support is crucial in light of the dire projections by the UNODC, which point to a national emergency requiring immediate and sustained intervention.

Furthermore, HURIWA commended the NDLEA for the transparency and accountability it has introduced in its operations. “These principles are essential for maintaining public trust and ensuring the agency’s efforts are effective and just. The association believes these reforms will stand the test of time and serve as a model for other law enforcement agencies.”

To bolster the fight against drug trafficking, HURIWA called on all Nigerians to support the government’s initiatives led by Marwa’s transformational leadership at the NDLEA, stating that public cooperation and vigilance are vital in identifying and reporting drug-related activities, which can help the agency clamp down on illicit operations.

“The NDLEA’s 2024 World Drug Day activities, which include community engagement and educational programs, underscore the agency’s comprehensive approach to tackling the drug menace. From the Juma’at Service at the National Mosque to the Walk Against Drugs in collaboration with MTN and the thanksgiving service at the National Christian Centre, these events aim to mobilize various segments of society in the fight against drugs.

“The grand finale of the secondary school essay competition and NGO Day highlights the importance of involving young people and civil society in prevention efforts. Engaging out-of-school youths in markets and parks further ensures that anti-drug messages reach vulnerable groups who are often the most at risk,” HURIWA commended.

In conclusion, HURIWA praised the NDLEA for its innovative strategies and unwavering commitment to combating drug trafficking.

The association urged all stakeholders, including the government, civil society, and the media, to rally behind these efforts. “By investing in prevention and supporting the NDLEA’s initiatives, Nigeria can avert the looming crisis of increased drug use and build a healthier, drug-free future for its citizens,” HURIWA asserted.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko

National Coordinator,

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)

June 20, 2024

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