The United States government has assured the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of more support and collaboration in different areas of its strategic operations to enhance its capabilities against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.
The assurance was given by Dr. Mark Hove of the Africa and Middle East Office, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US State Department, on Wednesday when he led another top official of the Bureau, Craig Nixon on a courtesy visit to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
This comes on the heels of a recent official letter by the Bureau announcing the U.S. project grant to the NDLEA following requests by Marwa during series of meetings both in Abuja and in Washington DC. The letter had noted that the support grant which will be implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Nigeria, covers forensic and chemical analysis capacity of the agency, intelligence-led investigations through diverse resources as well as legal books and an e-library for prosecution and other legal needs of the agency..
Speaking during the visit Mark Hove commended the tremendous work done so far by the Marwa-led NDLEA while expressing satisfaction with the response of the agency to the threat of lethal illicit drugs such as Fentanyl, Captagon and Methamphetamine. He cited the recent seizure of over 2.1 tons of cocaine in Ikorodu area of Lagos by NDLEA as an incredible feat.
Hove said he came on the visit to discuss areas of more assistance for the agency and further collaboration. He said with the NDLEA success story, the agency is well positioned to be a training centre for other anti-narcotic agencies in Africa.
In his response, Marwa expressed appreciation to the INL for its support to the agency and its readiness to do more. He said such will significantly enhance the investigative and prosecutorial capabilities of NDLEA especially coming at a time when the enabling Act of the agency has been amended by the National Assembly to further strengthen its capacity.
The NDLEA boss expressed happiness with the collaboration between NDLEA and the US Drug Enforcement Administration to combat trafficking of illicit drugs between the US and Nigeria as well as globally. “There’s need for greater collaboration on Fentanyl and others”, Marwa added.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja