The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the war on drug trafficking, boost intelligence sharing and improve coordination between the two countries.
According to Buba Marwa, the NDLEA Chairman, the Nigerian government has been partnering with the US government in training and providing operational equipment and logistics to strengthen efforts in stopping inflow and outflow of illegal drugs.
“But we still need more of such assistance to ensure we go after the criminals and in a hard way,” Marwa said.
“We will be hard against drug criminals. We will be serious. We are going to rid this country of the illicit drugs trade, trafficking and consumption.”
“But in carrying out this onerous task, I will take this opportunity to seek for more of your support for the agency to enable us to move faster.”
“I must thank the US government for all the support NDLEA has received through the years,” he added.
The US Mission also reiterated the importance of the partnership saying, “Proud to partner with @ndlea_nigeria in combating the scourge of illegal drugs”.
“The MOU signed between the NDLEA & U.S. Drug Enforcement Admin. will aid to bolster intelligence sharing, provide expertise & greater coordination to bring drug trafficking organizations to justice,” the Mission wrote on Twitter.
Mary Beth Leonard, the US Ambassador to Nigeria also spoke on the history between Nigeria and the US in terms of the partnership, saying she looked forward to furthering the agendas of both countries, and NDLEA’s immediate plans for the future.
“We also like to know your priority, present and future direction of the agency under your leadership,” Leonard told Marwa during the signing of the MoU.
“ We have a long history of a relationship. It was great to get an assessment of the situation on the ground and know how to move the relationship forward,” she added.
In 2018, the NDLEA arrested 4, 736 persons for suspected involvement in drug trafficking between January and August that year. Of the number, 4, 395 were male while 341 were female, according to a publication on its website.
It also intercepted 80.73 tonnes of drugs within the same period.
According to the report, Cannabis sativa, also known as wee-wee, the only drug crop cultivated in Nigeria accounted for 59.2 tons of the total drug seizures while Methamphetamine which is fast gaining currency in local production accounted for 119.37 kilograms.
It said Tramadol and cough syrup with codeine, the two pharmaceutical drugs of abuse accounted for 16.969 tons and 7.973.5 metric tons, respectively.