Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has warned that unrepentant drug barons and cartels will face a tougher time in 2023 if they fail to back out of the illicit drug business.
This is just as he disclosed that some drug barons are building schools, carrying out humanitarian gestures as a deceitful ploy to hoodwink communities into creating resistance when NDLEA operator’s come after them for drug offences.
He also said NDLEA has seized assets of drug barons and drugs combined worth roughly N500 billion.
Marwa gave the warning on Wednesday at a press briefing at the NDLEA national headquarters, Abuja to update the public on efforts by the Agency to rid the country of illicit substance abuse and drug trafficking on the second anniversary of his leadership of the anti-narcotics body.
He said, “Last year, I issued a New Year appeal to them and also warned that those who refused to heed the warning will find themselves in a difficult situation.
“Already, we have 34 barons in our net and they are facing the music in court. We have secured orders for the temporary forfeiture of their assets. With our prosecution being topnotch, they can look forward to a long time in prison and final forfeiture of their wealth and assets. Those involved in the illicit drug trade should take a cue from our actions. They can again look forward to a tough time this year.
“The signs are clear: we have already in the first two weeks of this year taken down three major drug cartels, one of which has built extensive networks across the world while at least six of their kingpins are in our custody as I speak. The details you will get to know in the coming days.
“In these two years, we arrested 26, 458 drug traffickers, among them, 34 barons. In 24 months, we successfully prosecuted 3,733 offenders who were convicted and handed various jail terms in court.
“Of the conviction figure, 2,346 were recorded in 2022 alone, which is the highest in the history of the Agency and almost doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of NDLEA. This is not happenchance but a result of professionalism, determination, commitment and hard work of our officers, men and women”.
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