National Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, retired Brigadier Gen Buba Marwa has urged security operatives at the Port Harcourt airports to be proactive and vigilante in their duties to preempt drug transit through the airports. The NDLEA new boss made the call while addressing security agencies in a meeting immediately he arrived Rivers State at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, on in his first official visit to Rivers State as the new NDLEA national chairman.
He said the battle against drug abuse demands collective responsibility.
“The fight against drug trafficking, cultivation, manufacturing, importation, exportation is for all of us not only NDLEA, because we are all affected at the end of the day. Families are being ruined throughout this country because of drugs, either by those who do business with it because of money or those who consume it. But we in the NDLEA are the lead agency as far as the reduction in supply of illicit substances is concerned and in demand reduction”
Marwa said international airports and seaports are key points to check against the flow of illicit drugs.
“And one of the gateways in both importation and exportation of drugs are our airports and seaports. Of critical importance are the international airports and so I will urge that we all work together with NDLEA Airport Command towards making sure that when this airport opens for operation, nothing passes in and out.
“I have been briefed by the airport command that your working relationship is cordial. We must fight this fight, it is a fight to the finish, we can’t allow the country to be destroyed by drugs,” the former Lagos State military administrator charged.
Responding to the chairman, Mr. Onyi Vincent Chukwudi FSI, chief security, Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa said, ” We have a very good synergy amongst us and we equally have gotten your charge. Yes, security is a collective responsibility, the fight against drugs is a collective responsibility and on behalf of our regional manager FAAN, we assure you that we will improve more on the cordial relationship between us and NDLEA. On security at Port Harcourt Airport we speak with one voice and we do things together.”
He said they will work to ensure the airport does not become listed as gateway for drug pushing.
“We are our brothers’ keepers; it will be a bad news for us that Port Harcourt airport is porous where these types of things take place. It is not only on NDLEA, it rubs on all of us; it is a collective responsibility”
Marwa, after meeting with security operatives at the Omagwa international airport proceeded to Onne Seaport and the state office of NDLEA at Aba Road for another meeting with heads of religious leaders and Road Transport Workers in Rivers State, in furtherance of his campaign to rid the state of the use of illicit substances.
Addressing leaders of both the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Islamic leaders and RTWU heads in Rivers State, the NDLEA chairman alerted that increased drug usage is fuelling criminality in the country.
He told them: “Our nation is getting destroyed by drug scourge, even the criminality that is ongoing-the kidnapping, arm robbery, the rape on some, the insurgency, the banditry is all drugs. Nobody in his right senses will enter these types of nefarious activities. We are already three times the global average and by 2050 there will be 30 million more Nigerians taking drugs. We have to from now, stand up to face it squarely; halt it and pull it back”
Representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Islamic leaders applauded the NDLEA chairman on his mandates and promised to contribute their quota to help eradicate the scourge of illicit substances in their various religious spaces.
Highlights of the visit was an award presented to the new NDLEA chairman at the Onne seaport by the Onne Seaport NDLEA Command and group pictures with security operatives at Omagwa International Airport, Onne Seaport and representatives of religious leaders and Rivers State road transport workers at the state NDLEA office at Aba Road, Port Harcourt.
“So if we are able to face that, the criminality will drop throughout the country. We need to save our children from drugs, we have to keep them away from drugs and those who have not started we have to block them, that is where the religious leaders come in”
Marwa said religious leaders command respect in the country and are vital in the anti-drug campaign.
“The society in Nigeria is a very religious one, they listen to the religious leaders, whether they practice the religion very well, is another question. But they listen to their clerics, to their pastors, to their bishops, the Imams. It is for this reason that I wish to appeal to you and religious leaders to please rise up to this occasion. Use your pulpits in your sermons and on the Mumbai, to tell our kids and congregations that the use of drugs is bad, even for our health because it kills ultimately. Anything that turns your head affects your reasoning, your behavior and more or less for the bad is bad.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to appeal to you our religious leaders to please come out with a big voice, a loud voice, to work very hard on these aspect to win our people from this habit that is destroying Nigerians”, he appealed.
He urged transport union leaders to help check both usage and trafficking of drugs.
“In the case of our road transport workers the message also is to urge our drivers to desist both from carrying drugs from point A to point B in Nigeria and from using it. I know drivers especially the long distance drivers want to stay awake so that they can make more journeys and therefore earn more money but at the end of the day, driving with drugs is like you are driving intoxicated. Without your full sense there is no alertness and before you know it, accidents happen and people are killed, innocent passengers”.
He disclosed plans for drug tests in communities.
“The NDLEA is in the process of fine-tuning and streamlining drug test across the Nigerian communities, across the space, different fractions. We will come out with it before long, and we want the road transport workers to partner with us on this.
“So in the motor park, you clean it up so that no drug enters and when we come and arrest people, they have to be dealt with. We will not forgive because this is deliberate and we will not allow it for the safety of the Nigerian citizens,” he warned.
Representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Islamic leaders applauded the NDLEA national boss on his mandates and promised to do their beats in eradicating the scourge of illicit substances in their various religious spaces.
Highlights of his visit was an award given to the NDLEA new national boss at the Onne seaport by the Onne seaport NDLEA command and group pictures with security operatives at Omagwa international airport, Onne seaport and with religious leaders and Rivers State road transport workers at the state NDLEA office at Aba Road, Port. Harcourt.