By BUKOLA ADETOYE
Lagos- The Nigerian Navy has empowered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with two Epenal boats to strengthen its war against illicit drugs in the country.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu, who said this at the handing over of the boats to NDLEA in Lagos on Thursday, noted that the boats were for operation and training.
Awwal, represented by Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje, said that Navy believed the gesture would assist the expansion and strengthening of NDLEA.
“Verily it will impact positively on operational efficiency and capacity development especially for her marine unit,” he said.
He hinted that the Navy had also conducted a two day training for NDLEA personnel on boat handling for full utilisation of the two boats.
Responding, the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa expressed joy over the donation.
He said, “this anti -drug agency was pleased with the prompt response of the Navy to our request.
“NDLEA thanked the Chief of Naval staff, for these materials that will strengthen the marine unit of NDLEA.”
Marwa, represented by the Director, Seaport Operations, Apapa, Lagos, Mrs Omolade Faboyede, said that the response was part of a sweeping effort to protect Nigerian waters from trafficking of illicit drug substances.
Marwa said that the synergy between the Navy and NDLEA as exemplified by the donation was a testament that NDLEA was winning the drug war on the water front.
“We have come to a point where security organisation can longer afford to work in silos.
“Illicit drug trafficking, as a transnational organised crime, requires the deployment of intelligence and close-knit collaboration with key stakeholders like the Nigerian Navy and other key security organisations.
“And so far, our efforts in one year showed that the strategy is effective. In 2021, we recorded the arrest of more than 12,300 suspected drug offenders, including seven barons with 1,400 drug traffickers jailed.
“We were able also to counsel and rehabilitate 8,000 drug users and in the same period, we mopped up over 3.4 million kilograms of assorted drugs,’’ he said.
Marwa said interestingly, drugs and illicit proceeds of drug crime worth N130 billion were successfully recovered while this year equally started on an excellent footing.
He said that NDLEA broke its first quarter operational record with the arrest of over 3,539 suspected drug traffickers and the seizure of more than 65, 916 kg of drugs.
He expressed confidence that the partnership would produce more outstanding results in our country’s fight against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. (NAN)