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Why we target assets of drug barons, traffickers — Marwa

Why we target assets of drug barons, traffickers — Marwa %Post Title


Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen Mohamed Marwa (Rtd), says that as part of the ongoing offensive action against illicit drug cartels in the country, the anti-narcotics body will go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers.

Marwa explained the rationale behind NDLEA’s drive while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, to kick off week-long activities to celebrate the 2024 International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, in conjunction with other stakeholders like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Permit me to share with you that our offensive action against drug cartels and traffickers, launched in January 2021, has to date, continued to yield the desired result with the arrests and prosecutions of several barons,” Marwa said.

“As you are all aware, two serial traffickers got life imprisonment in court in April. Our prosecution efforts have continued to achieve successes in courts given the painstaking investigations and diligence in the prosecution of cases. 

“Our water-tight case preparations are unassailable. This has been further strengthened with our forfeiture regime with the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA 2022). 

“Apart from conviction, the assets of the convicts used as instrumentality of the crime or the proceeds derived from the crime would be forfeited to the federal government. Indeed, a civil action in rem could be maintained against assets reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime in which case the burden of proving the licit origin of the asset would be on the defendant who claims ownership of the asset. 

“As you are all aware, two serial traffickers got life imprisonment in court in April. Our prosecution efforts have continued to achieve successes in courts given the painstaking investigations and diligence in the prosecution of cases. 

“Our water-tight case preparations are unassailable. This has been further strengthened with our forfeiture regime with the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA 2022). 

“Apart from conviction, the assets of the convicts used as instrumentality of the crime or the proceeds derived from the crime would be forfeited to the federal government. Indeed, a civil action in rem could be maintained against assets reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime in which case the burden of proving the licit origin of the asset would be on the defendant who claims ownership of the asset. 

“This diligent and painstaking preparation of investigations and prosecutions explains the success of the high conviction rate”, the NDLEA boss, represented by the Agency’s Secretary, Shadrach Haruna said.

Speaking on the drug demand reduction efforts of the Agency, Marwa said the flagship programme, War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) built on “the whole of society approach” to preventive action against drug abuse has been a tremendous success as an effective tool in the advocacy for social action and an awareness-driven vehicle for public engagement and collaboration against illicit trafficking and abuse, which he said aligns with the theme for the 2024 world drug day.

Marwa said the World Drug Day, observed on June 26 every year, “is an important day for the global community and an occasion during which current efforts against illicit drug problems are given policy direction for the next 12 months.” 

He said the theme of this year, “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention”, emphasises the importance of preventing people from falling into the danger of experimenting with illicit drugs and subsequently falling into the trap of dependence on psychoactive substances.

According to him, “Prevention is an important aspect of the effort to curb the menace of abuse of illicit drugs in the society. At NDLEA, prevention, as ably anchored in our War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), social advocacy programme is a priority area for us. Within our modest means and with the support of the Federal Government and our various stakeholders, we have invested in prevention by various means over the past three years as part of the reforms being undertaken in the agency.”

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