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Anti-drug trafficking operations: Nigerian Navy donates patrol boats, other equipment to NDLEA’s Marine Unit

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, on Thursday expressed the navy’s resolve for initiatives to support the anti-drug trafficking operations of the Marine Unit under the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The CNS stated this on occasion of the handing over of two Epenal boats,  and other operational equipment by the Nigerian Navy to the NDLEA, at the Western Naval Command HQ, Apapa Lagos.

Admiral Gambo was represented by the Ag. Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral HUF Kaoje.

Expressing confidence that the gesture would further strengthen the existing relationship between the Navy and the NDLEA, Admiral Gambo disclosed that “the Nigerian Navy also conducted a two-day training package for the National Drug Law Enforcement personnel on boat- handling for full utilisation of the two boats.”

The CNS noted that the nation’s maritime space has its own share of illegal activities such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, illegal bunkering and trafficking in persons and narcotics, therefore making it beneficial for the  NDLEA to boost its platforms for operations, for more effectiveness.

His words:” The access to international waters as a common resource has made maritime transshipment of persons and goods very appealing for both legal and illegal activities.

“Therefore, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency needs to get adequate platforms to curb illicit Drug peddlers in the maritime space.

“The Agency has reached out to the NN for support in its current expansion and strengthening efforts to fight the existing menace of drug abuse.

“It is on this note that the Nigerian Navy deemed it necessary to make this donation to enhance the NDLEA Maritime Unit’s capacity to check illicit Drug activities in the waterways.”

Speaking on some results in tackling drug trafficking, Admiral Gambo recalled some instances when the Nigerian Navy intercepted drugs being transported via the waterways and collaborated with the NDLEA for destruction of such dangerous substances.

He recalled that in October 2021, the navy in collaboration with the NDLEA, intercepted a shipment of 32.9kg of cocaine on board MV CHAYANEE NARE.

He said that the Nigerian Navy Ship ABA also intercepted a large wooden boat containing marijuana, which was transiting the Nigeria- Benin boarder.

According to the CNS, the Nigerian Navy Forwarding Operating Base Badagry patrol boat intercepted and seized 40 bags of cannabis at Ajulo waterside, which were ultimately handed over to the NDLEA for destruction.

He noted that the boost to the NDLEA’s marine operations would support the Agency’s fight against illicit drug activities.

On his part, Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa(Rtd.), commended the synergy between the anti-narcotic agency and other stakeholders, especially the military, saying it would further tighten the noose on drug cartels and spell doom for their activities in the country.

“The Agency is determined to cripple the activities of drug cartels on every front. We do not doubt that the combination of naval and narcotics strategies will spell doom for drug barons in the coming days. NDLEA will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders as we tighten the noose on drug criminals,” he said.

The NDLEA Boss added that: “We have come to a point where security organisations 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 security organisations. In our effort to stem the tide of narcotic drugs, we have gone the extra mile and that includes the pursuit of synergy with organisations in the security sector.”

Represented by the Agency’s Director of Seaports Operations, DCGN Omolade Faboyede, Marwa disclosed that “In 2021, we recorded the arrest of more than 12,300 suspected drug offenders, including seven drug barons with 1,400 drug traffickers jailed.

“We were able also to counsel and rehabilitate 8,000 drug users and in the same period, also, we mopped up over 3.4 million kilograms of assorted drugs. Interestingly, drugs and illicit proceeds of drug crime worth N130 billion were successfully recovered.

“This year equally started on an excellent footing. We broke our first quarter operational record with the arrest of over 3,539 suspected drug traffickers (including rogue security personnel and a well-known billionaire baron) and the seizure of more than 65,916 kilograms of drugs.”





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