Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)’s Strike Force Corps have been urged to go all out and root out drug barons and cartels from their hideouts across the country.
Chairman and Chief Executive of the agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), gave the charge yesterday, at the special operations training graduation ceremony for 143 officers of the Strike Force Corps at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI), Jaji, Kaduna State.
The NDLEA boss in a statement by the agency’s Director, Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said the drug scourge in Nigeria is unacceptable with almost 15 million Nigerians abusing substances, 20 per cent of whom are addicted and three times the global average.
He said: “ We’re conscious of our job to block and prevent availability of narcotic drugs, and that necessitated the formation of the Strike Force to enhance our capability for complex operations.
“The Strike Force is the tip of our spear in our interdiction efforts and as such we must keep the tip sharpened and always ready to strike because we need to 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 that these well trained officers and men are coming to smoke them out as a formidable force anywhere in the country. As we equip and arm you well, be ruthless with the criminal gangs and merchants of death. Equally, I will implore you to display professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights in your operations.”
Marwa reminded the new graduates of their positions within the agency, adding that another batch of officers and men of NDLEA would be sent to NASI for similar training in the coming weeks.
He commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and the Armed Forces for the successes recorded so far in the fight against insecurity in the country. He tasked them not to rest on their oars “because fighting insecurity is not like a football match that ends at the end of 90 minutes.”
He said: “Note that the special nature of your training will require you 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 prevail 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.”
“It is also important that you always bear in mind that there is little or no margin of error in the execution of your task as the safety of all NDLEA officers on assignment, including yourself, will, at times, depend on the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the Strike Force team providing cover for the mission. On such occasions, your training will be called to test,” he added.
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. He said the training, as the first of its kind, will enhance the Agency’s capability to handle more complex challenges in its task of tackling drug barons and cartels.
Other top Army Chiefs at the ceremony include the Commander, Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Major Gen. Victor Ezeugwu and Commandant, Martins Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre, Major Gen. A.J. Fagae among others.