Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and its South African counterpart in the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, popularly known as HAWKS, have held a two-day meeting to forge stronger operational ties to combat drug syndicates operating between the two countries.
NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr. Femi Babafemi disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
TheFact Daily reports that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its World Drug Report in 2021, disclosed that a Nigerian drug syndicate that supplies a potent central nervous system stimulant, methamphetamine, also known as ‘mkpuru mmiri’, to South Africa, had set up two major transnational supply routes from Nigeria and Afghanistan through which the deadly narcotic is trafficked to Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Speaking during the start of the meeting at the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja on Monday, 24 July, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd), said the deliberation will bridge the gap and rekindle drug war efforts by deepening collaboration in line with the principle of common and shared responsibility in tackling the global drug problem.
Marwa, who was represented by the Agency’s Secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, expressed optimism about the emergence of a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combat drug trafficking and related crimes between the NDLEA and HAWKS as one of the expected outcomes of the meeting, which he said would provide a framework for enhanced information exchange and Joint Operations/Joint Airport Interdiction, “all promising dividends that will benefit our two organizations and countries greatly.
The NDLEA boss emphasized the increasing sophistication of drug trafficking cartels, particularly the proliferation of methamphetamine laboratories and the emergence of Fentanyl production facilities which pose grave threats to the safety and well-being of citizens in both countries, which he said demands swift action through the seamless exchange of intelligence and technical expertise.
Intelligence sharing, he opined, will not only halt the spread of the production of illicit and deadly drugs but will also prevent locally produced ones from being smuggled between both countries.
In his remarks, Lt. Gen. Senaba Mosipi, leader of the South African delegation, stressed that the collaboration between the two countries was necessary in view of criminals operating in the drug trade, who recognise neither borders nor geographical boundaries.
He added that to combat their criminality, proactive measures with the arm of the law are imperative.
The partnership between the two countries’ anti-narcotics agencies was first forged in April 2022, during which, Gen. Marwa had called for an operational MoU that will allow both agencies to share intelligence in real-time, engage in joint operations, especially in the area of controlled delivery, joint training and personnel exchange programmes among others.