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The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (retd.), has said the agency had from January 2021 till now seized N100bn worth of drugs and arrested 9,355 traffickers.
Marwa however said that drug offenders will now get 15 to 25 years in jail and life sentences without an option of fine.
Marwa said these on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents, the NDLEA boss also revealed that the agency’s Act under review at the National Assembly would ensure the introduction of drug tests before weddings and recruitment into public roles and offices.
He said, “Drug producers and traffickers have the money, and when you impose fines, they just pay off the fine and they will be back on the streets. So, the option of fine will no longer apply.
“The jail terms we are looking at is a minimum of 15 years and maximum of 25 and life imprisonment. These are all in the NDLEA Act under revision by the National Assembly.
“There is no guarantee that the jail term will prevent drug offenders from plying their illicit trade. But it is a strong deterrent. If you face 25 years or life in prison and somehow you manage to come out in your old age, it’s difficult to return to that trade.”
Asked how the NDLEA would ensure that drug offenders would serve their terms to the letter, Marwa said the agency was working closely with the Nigeria Correctional Service, adding that there was a time when jailed drug barons escaped between the courtroom and the prison.
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“But this happened in the distant past. The correctional service is much different now and such an escape will not be possible,” he stated.
Quizzed about politicians, who get caught in the web of drugs, Marwa said no public official would be spared if caught abusing drugs or encouraging their abuse.
He listed the NDLEA’s efforts against drug trafficking, revealing that the monetary value of drugs seized had since crossed the N100bn mark.
“As of October 15, the agency has arrested 9,355 traffickers, including six drug barons, filed over 5,000 drug offence cases in court, recovered over N100bn worth of drugs and cash, seized more than 2.7 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in 10 months, and counselled and rehabilitated 5,579 drug users,” he added.
The NDLEA boss added that by the end of this year, the agency would have dealt sufficient decisive blow to the cannabis cartels in the country “going by the rate we’re going into forests to destroy hundreds of hectares of their plantations in our ongoing operations.”