Buba Marwa Explains Why NDLEA Set Cocaine Worth N196 Billion On Fire
Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, has provided an explanation for why 1.8 tons of cocaine that the Agency seized last week from a warehouse in the Ikorodu neighborhood of Lagos was crushed and set on fire.
Last week, the NDLEA, in a well-coordinated and intelligence-led operation stormed a covert warehouse at 6 Olukunola Street in the Solebo estate of Ikorodu, where 1.8 tons of cocaine were found and five suspects, including a Jamaican, were detained.
Speaking Tuesday at the site of the public destruction in the Badagry neighborhood of Lagos, Gen. Marwa, who was represented by the Agency’s Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, Deputy Commander General of Narcotics, DCGN Sunday Joseph, said the sheer volume of the drug haul, with street value estimated at $278,250,000, equivalent to $194,775 billion.
According to him, Nigerians must now support NDLEA in the organization’s ongoing fight against illicit drugs.
He claimed that after the largest-ever seizure in Agency history, a Lagos Federal High Court order was obtained authorizing the consignment’s public destruction.
According to Gen. Marwa, the decision to have the items publicly destroyed was made to send a clear message to those engaged in the illegal trade that tougher times are in store for drug lords and cartels operating in Nigeria if they refuse to give up their criminal activities and pursue legitimate endeavors.
To the drug underworld, he said, “the bust of the syndicate responsible for the cocaine warehoused in Ikorodu is a message to drug cartels that their investments in the illicit drug trade will go up in flames as you are about to witness while they also risk losing their freedom because the present NDLEA is committed to arresting, prosecuting, and ensuring the conviction of those involved in illicit drugs.”
“ That is not all, we now also go after their assets acquired with the proceeds of the criminal trade.”
He stated that 1, 828 blocks of the 1.8 tons of cocaine would be crushed and set ablaze, leaving the remainder to be stored for the purpose of prosecuting the suspects who had been present to see the process through and sign the certificate of destruction.
According to the NDLEA boss, “the Agency is proceeding with the prosecution of those arrested in connection with this consignment.”
“On this, the public can rest assured that NDLEA shall pursue the trial to a logical conclusion.
“Since January 25, 2021, when we commenced our offensive action against drug traffickers, the Agency has secured record convictions. Presently, 2, 904 drug offenders are serving various jail terms, while other cases are ongoing in court, which we are confident will end in positive results too.”
According to Marwa, who was quoted by agency spokesman Femi Babafemi, the fact that the Ikorodu operation was carried out methodically without any clashes or bloodshed is further evidence of the NDLEA’s evolution and its new capabilities, as well as a sign that the rules of engagement in the fight against illicit drugs have changed.
He expressed gratitude to the Agency’s international partners, particularly the US-DEA, which helped with the cocaine syndicate bust, the Nigerian military, which added firepower to the operation, and other law enforcement organizations that have been supporting efforts to clean up Nigeria of illegal drugs.
Marwa pleaded for more support for the Agency’s efforts, saying “the safety of our society is the responsibility of each of us and every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by helping the Agency to clean up our communities and cities by joining our War Against Drug Abuse (WADA),” adding that “together, we can make this country secure.”