Barons and their drug networks cut across states and nations, and it is no doubt that they are financially capable to recruit mules to push and fund their illicit crimes.
These barons due to their nefarious activities to turn our nation into a community of junkies by pushing different illicit substances into our society on a daily basis ranging from cannabis, cocaine, mkpurumiri, akuskura e.t.c. have been a huge problem to public health and the wellbeing of innocent Nigerians. It is however soul-soothing that the Buba Marwa-led National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has equally been a pain in their ass since January 2021.
Marwa’s strides in today’s NDLEA reminds me of his days as the Governor of old Borno state between 1990 – 1992, when the state witnessed a replicate of the new ‘Boko haram’ . That was when the Chadian soldiers who were dislodged after the power seizure by Idriss Deby- a notorious and erstwhile rebel, carried out raids across Borno. In no time, he mobilised resources to crush them.
His second spell in power as Military Administrator of Lagos state between 1996-1999 also witnessed the empowerment of ‘Operation Sweep’ which was a synergy between the Police and Military to fight Lagos’ notorious crime rate, again crushing trans-border criminals terrorising the state then.
So, it is no wonder that with him now in the saddle at the NDLEA, which even though was under funded during his arrival, the Agency according to media reports has made tremendous impact including: 23,903 arrests; seizure of 5.5m kg of illicit substances; 3,434 convictions and 16,114 drug users Counselled and rehabilitated between January 2021 – October 2022.
My interest in this piece however is the arrest of 29 drug barons within the same period and the zeal with which all their properties, suspected to be proceeds of drug trade targeted for forfeiture to the government and people of Nigeria who are actually the real victims of this criminal trade.
With this in mind, it is not impossible that Gen. Marwa must have come under a lot of threats from the underworld as a repeat of what happened to him Lagos when he was almost killed by a road side bomb attack. Officers and Men of the agency are equally not likely to be left out of this development. It is therefore a general call to the public to constantly remember the Chairman and his personnel in prayers. Notwithstanding the threats, with the support of the citizenry, no doubt, this is a winnable war.
Olufemi Fadahunsi writes from Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state