National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at working jointly at tackling the menace of drug trafficking in the country.
The MoU aimed at sharing information and strategies that would further strengthen the ongoing war on drug trafficking in the country.
The MoU was signed at the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) and the Comptroller General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (Retd).
In his speech during the signing, Marwa that with the MoU, the two organisations would collaborate at inflicting maximum loss on drug cartels bent on trafficking illicit substances at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Marwa expressed his delight at the decision by the two government agencies to document their working relationship in an MoU, even as he listed the huge benefits of such to the country.
He specifically commended Col. Ali for his excellent record of performance as Customs CG and his past years of public service in the Nigerian army especially as military governor of Kaduna state. He said: “I have always known Col. Ali as a patriotic, hardworking and disciplined officer with excellent track record of achievements.”
He added that the MoU is “certainly a benchmark for information and or intelligence sharing. It is also a platform for sharing of operational and administrative experiences with a view to adopting best practices that work. With this united front, there can only be one assurance that the criminal elements in our society will definitely be the losers and I assure you that they will certainly lose big as we come for them to put them where they rightly belong and cripple their crime syndicates.
“While there is no doubt as to the benefits that this MoU will provide to our two services and the nation at large, it is my hope that its successful execution and implementation will provide the necessary impetus for extension to other sister law enforcement agencies (LEAs) operating at our airports, seaports and land borders. On this basis, it is imperative to drive the implementation of the MoU to ensure that its objectives and derivable are achieved.
“Therefore, on behalf of the NDLEA, I assure you of our commitment to this MoU and intend to provide all the necessary support required to drive the implementation process in order to ensure the realization of all accruable benefits. As it is usually said, together we stand and remain undefeatable.”
Marwa while stating the great significance of the MoU, said the document contains a number of innovations that will encourage interpersonal relationship amongst the rank and file as well as at the various levels of command and administration of the two organisations. “It provides for joint training of personnel just as it makes provisions for regular meetings of command officers at various levels of our command structures. These are the meetings of Commanders/Comptrollers of the various relevant formations, at the relevant directorates/departments of the national headquarters and at the highest level of policy making between the Comptroller-General of Customs and my office, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, which is expected to take place at least twice a year.
“The expected outcome of these series of interactions is to foster better understanding of the respective roles and mandates of our two organisations and how they complement one another in a mutually inclusive way. The ultimate objective is to dissolve suspicion, friction and general interagency rivalry that does not do our nation any good in terms of effectively securing the entry and exit points of our dear country. This will provide an effective defence line at our various ports of entry/exit to prevent the influx of offensive materials and substances that undermine our national security, and ensure that our national assets are not smuggled out to undermine our economic progress and stability.”
In his remarks, the Customs boss commended Marwa for initiating the MoU. He said: “This MOU is sending a very strong signal to fighting crime. We believe that coming together shows commitment to saving this nation from drugs and other substances. I want to take this special opportunity to thank my senior for initiating this MOU. I must say something, he is a very committed person. It is not new to us in the uniform to see his strides, for those who have had the opportunity to serve with him. He is a game player and a game changer. When my attention was drawn to this initiative, I knew this was the Marwa trend. I thank him for initiating this event, and creating an avenue for us to synergize and come up with a veritable way for fighting drug abuse in this nation.
“The essence of our being here has been underscored by my brother, but I want to reiterate that our coming together does not send a signal only to our nation but to the international partners, that we are committed to protecting our borders from illicit drugs. We have all along been doing this, finding drugs in the borders, but thank God the sole responsibility has been removed from us, and we had some relief. What we do now is that when we arrest the suspects, we hand them over to the NDLEA, where they will be pursued, investigated, and punished severely. The coming of Marwa has given us confidence that the suspects will be handled accordingly.”
He expressed the commitment of the Nigerian Customs Service to the implementation of the MoU, stating that: “We are indeed very grateful, to have been incorporated in this your thought and want to assure that the entire Customs will be behind this MOU. I want to believe that collaboration will make impact in reducing to the barest minimum the drug menace.”
He said both NDLEA and the Customs must invest in technology to fight the drug menace.”
He added that: “Both of us must ensure we deploy technology as we go into this commitment, to fighting the drug menace. It is the key to success, as methods of concealment are numerous, with other illicit drugs put in pockets, shoes, and edible foods.”