Clandestine laboratories pose threat to public health, national security – Marwa
- As INCB gathers African, Asian countries in Lagos for training, collaboration
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said that the recent discovery of clandestine laboratories for the production of methamphetamine and the seizures of captagon, fentanyl, and other deadly substances in Nigeria further underscores the growing threat of illicit drugs to public health and national security.
The NDLEA boss who stated this in Lagos on Monday 12th June in his opening remarks at the Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) twinning programme being organized by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said if drug trafficking cartels can maintain effective network across the globe, it is expedient for drug law enforcement agencies to forge a clear formidable lead ahead of them to win this all-important fight.
According to him, “This programme is a laudable initiative and is timely considering the proliferation of new psychotropic substances (NPS), non-medical synthetic opioids, and other dangerous substances. The multi-agency training on real-time communication, intelligence tools, awareness raising, and the handling of dangerous substances, is a welcome development aimed at intercepting narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
“Expectedly, this will help to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement and regulatory officers across regions and promote faster and more effective cooperation among participating countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other benefits include intelligence sharing and officer exchange programmes, which are vital to the dislodgment of transnational drug trafficking groups.”
Expressing optimism about the gains of the strategic alliance between West Africa and Southeast Asia, Marwa said the twinning programme “is preparing a solid foundation for a more coordinated onslaught against drug trafficking cartels. Apart from exposing officers to global and regional trend in new psychotropic substances (NPS) and non-medical synthetic opioids, it will also enhance the capacity of law enforcement agents to discharge their duties.”
While emphasising the need for greater partnership among nations, the NDLEA boss promised that the Agency will continue to take every step aimed at increasing local and international collaboration adding that as part of that “We are poised to tighten the noose against drug traffickers as we partner towards an integrated and balanced strategy to counter the world drug problem.”
Also speaking at the programme, Craig Nixon of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, INL, US Department of State, said “we continue to engage our foreign partners to attain more impactful counter-narcotics and law enforcement outcomes through foreign assistance, diplomacy, and the deployment of deterrence tools”, adding that the new modality of synthetic drug trafficking poses a significant challenge to the United States.
In his remarks, Regional Technical Officer for the INCB's GRIDS programme in West and Central Africa, Amari Bedi Olivier congratulated the NDLEA Chairman over “the recent historic seizure of Fentanyl.” According to him, “the mention of this opioid in Africa is frightening, and Mr. Chairman, you had the courage to alert the world during the HONLEA on the risk of this substance on the African continent. Your message enabled us to launch a search in our analysis tool, called IONICS. Information has been shared with the countries concerned and investigations are ongoing. I want to bring up this case to highlight your courage in assuming our own history and responsibilities by not denying the possibility of such trafficking in Africa.”
In his own presentation, Regional Technical Officer, GRIDS Programme, Long Nguyen Duc warned that Social Media networks all around the globe are widely exploited by vendors of dangerous substances such as synthetic opioids or NPS, adding that “more and more vendors are “fishing” their customers over Social Media and then continue the communication via encrypted communication tools such as Wickr.” He also highlighted the dangers of exposure to fentanyl through use or improper handling.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters Abuja
Monday 12th June 2023