Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) and Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta state have stated that for Nigeria to defeat the twin evil of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking, Nigerians must rise in unison to stamp out the scourge from communities and cities across the country.
They agreed on this in their remarks when the NDLEA boss paid the governor a courtesy visit at the Government House in Asaba, the state capital during his three-day working visit which ended on Friday 3rd November 2023.
Explaining his mission to the governor and members of his executive council at the executive chamber of the Government House where he was received along with senior NDLEA officials who accompanied him, Marwa said he’s visiting Delta to personally condole the family of Mr. Fidelis Omhonrina over the tragedy of the unintended death of young Ivan and the wounding of his brother, Eromosele, as a result of a ricocheted bullet that strayed 600 metres away from the scene of an NDLEA encounter with some notorious drug dealers on 13th July in Asaba.
He said he’s equally in the state to assess the operational needs of the Delta state command and Delta Ports command of the Agency with a view to mobilizing officers and men of the two formations to go all out for drug cartels operating in the state.
He also added that his third mission was to rally stakeholders key to a successful fight against the drug menace in Delta with a 2018 prevalence rate of 18%.
He said with a projected rate of 40% rise in drug abuse in Africa by 2030, all well meaning Nigerians and organisations must unite behind the anti-narcotics agency in its ongoing renewed efforts in drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction.
While encouraging the governor to intensify his poverty alleviation programmes to address youth unemployment, which is a major trigger for substance abuse, Marwa asked for logistics support for the two Commands in the state, setting up of drug control committees from state, to local government and community levels as well as provision of rehabilitation centres in each of the three senatorial zones of the state.
He commended the governor for his good works within a short time in office and his commitment to the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the state.
In his response, Governor Oborevwori celebrated Marwa for always providing quality leadership and unflinching dedication to duty in all national assignments assigned to him.
According to him, we know your antecedents as military governor in Borno and Lagos state. And under your leadership, NDLEA has recorded successes, going after drug cartels. This momentum must be sustained if we have to win the war against illicit drugs.
While saying the drug scourge has become a public health issue globally and in Nigeria, which needs urgent and proactive actions, the governor assured the Agency of his support and partnership to rid the state of the menace.
He thanked Marwa for showing empathy and prompt response to the July fatal incident. The governor said “Nigerians are appreciative of what you’re doing in NDLEA, please don’t relent and don’t be discouraged. Those involved in the illicit drug business must be dealt with.”
The NDLEA had earlier in a separate meeting with chairmen of local government councils in the state sought their support and collaboration as the agency was preparing to deploy personnel to LGs across the country beginning from the first quarter of 2024.
He urged them to set up drug control committees in their councils and down to communities and wards for the purpose of cascading war against drug abuse, WADA, advocacy messages to the grassroots.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Chairman of Ughelli South local council, Dr. Koffi Richard told the NDLEA boss “we’ll give you any level of support at the LGs because you’re someone we’ve been looking up to for years. We’re willing to collaborate with you and your officers because we want peace and security in our respective LGs.”
In another meeting with the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien and other traditional rulers and chiefs in his palace, Marwa urged them to set up drug control committees in their domains while asking for their partnership in the fight against illicit drugs. The respected monarch assured the NDLEA chairman of the readiness of the traditional institution to support his efforts because “the subject matter of your visit is of great importance to us and Nigeria as a whole.”
The NDLEA boss and his team also visited the home of Mr. Fidelis Omhonrina where he again assured the family of continued support over the death of Ivan and the plan to fly Eromosele abroad for further treatment. The family expressed appreciation for the visit and support.