Journalism of Courage

NDLEA boss to Strike Force Corps: Smoke them out, deal ruthlessly with drug barons, cartels

"The drug scourge in Nigeria is unacceptable with almost 15 million Nigerians abusing substances, 20 percent of who were addicted which was three times the global average"

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) may have declared an NDLEA drug war on drug barons and cartels in the country as its “Strike Force Corps” is now to deal “ruthlessly” with them.
“As we equip and arm you well, be ruthless with the criminal gangs and merchants of death, ” the NDLEA Chairman, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa said.
He gave the directive on Monday in Kaduna at the special operations training graduation ceremony for 143 officers of the Strike Force Corps held at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI), Jaji.

The drug scourge in Nigeria, Marwa said, was unacceptable with almost 15 million Nigerians abusing substances, 20 percent of who were addicted which was three times the global average.

“We are conscious of our job to block and prevent availability of narcotic drugs, and that necessitated the formation of the Strike Force to enhance our capacity for complex operations.”

According to Marwa, the Strike Force is the tip of the spear in the agency’s interdiction efforts on drug war and, as such, must keep the tip sharpened and always ready to strike.

He said the agency should be two steps ahead of drug barons and cartels operating in the country.

“With the training and graduation of these officers and men today, we serve a notice to the drug barons and cartels who are yet to get the message to quit the criminal trade.

”These well-trained officers and men are coming to smoke them out as a formidable force anywhere in the country,” Marwa, one-time military governor of Lagos State assured.

The NDLEA boss, however, urged the officers to display professionalism, discipline and “respect for human rights” in their operations.He announced that another batch of officers and men of NDLEA would be sent to NASI for similar training in the coming weeks while commending the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya and the Armed Forces for the successes recorded so far in the war against terrorists and bandits in the country.

He tasked them not to rest on their oars, saying that fighting insecurity is not like a football match that ends at the end of 90 minutes.

Marwa noted that the special nature of the officers training would require them to serve as a force multiplier to the conventional NDLEA officers in the field.

“Let me warn you of the hazard along the way. It will come in various forms, ranging from physical assaults to stupendous temptations by traders and traffickers of illicit drugs.

“When the tempests arise, rise above them. Let your sense of duty remain uncompromised. Let patriotism prevails over pecuniary interest. Let no temptation prevent you from discharging your duties to the best of your ability.

“In whatever situation you find yourself, remember to not forgo your training about the rules of engagement, especially the respect for human rights,” he said.

The NDLEA boss said that it was important to always bear in mind also that there was little or no margin of error in the execution of the task as the safety of all officers on assignment.

In his remarks, Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Maj.-Gen. M.G. Ali, commended Marwa for repositioning NDLEA for efficiency and relevance within the country’s security architecture.

Ali said that the training, the first of its kind, would enhance the agency’s capability to handle more complex challenges in its task of tackling drug barons and cartels.

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