by Roli Bode-George
The present situation in the country where everybody seeks to take advantage of the publicly declared anti-corruption stand of the Buhari administration necessitates this response to the piece by one Mr. Adekunle Yusuf serialised on Thursday, August 6, and Friday, August 7, 2015. Otherwise it would have been unnecessary to dignify the piece with a response.
Although Yusuf interviewed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Head of Public Affairs, Mitchel Ofoyeju, the questions put to him by Yusuf did not do justice to the issues raised in his piece which he claimed was a product of “keeping tab on the agency for more than two years”.
If truly Yusuf was keeping tab on the NDLEA and all he could report was the activities of the bad eggs in the agency who have long been shown the way out, some of whom were prosecuted where necessary, then his so called tab was not only perverse but equally biased.
Yusuf will need to answer the following questions:
Where was he when the NDLEA discovered three clandestine laboratories in Lagos and Anambra States in 2013?
Where was he when in May 2015 when the agency discovered another three laboratories in Anambra.
Where was he when in 2014 the agency discovered and destroyed over 4,529.15 hectares of cannabis farms in Osun, Ondo and Edo states in one of our operations code named “Weed Eaters”?
Where was he when the United States removed Nigeria from the drug majors list in 2009 as a result of the activities of the agency thereby easing security checks and screening on Nigerians travelling to the country.
It is unfortunate that what is supposed to count as achievements due to the credible leadership of Ahmadu Giade, the current Chairman/Chief Executive (CCE) of the NDLEA, coupled with the patriotic efforts of the officers, is being trivialised by the author of the piece for selfish agenda.
The agency is however not unmindful of the intentions of some political jobbers who are in collusion with some disgruntled staff and discredited former staff and possibly drug barons whose businesses are under threat to rubbish Giade and the management of the agency in spite of the good works done in the last 10 years.
Contrary to Adekunle’s story, the NDLEA, under the leadership of Giade, can boast of a well trained and knowledgeable workforce capable of meeting the mandate of the agency. This accounts for the impressive records of arrest, seizures and convictions in the last ten years. As a result of the NDLEA’s counter narcotic measures, most drug barons have relocated to our neighbouring countries.
Similarly, the NDLEA has carried out result-oriented public enlightenment campaigns on the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking within and outside the country. The climax of this effort led to Nigeria’s re-admission into many international organizations in drug matters after several years of exclusion. Nigeria has also been certified by the US government as an efficient and global rated drug enforcement agency since 2009 as a result of the efficiency, effectiveness and professional integrity. One of the results of the NDLEA’s integrity and efficiency led the UNODC to declare the NDLEA as the best law enforcement agency in Africa.
The European Union (EU) is presently funding a five-year intervention project for all organisations involved in the enforcement of organised crimes in Nigeria in which NDLEA is a major player. It is common knowledge that collaborators against corruption will not invest in an organisation that is corrupt or perceived as corrupt as the piece portrays. The fact that the agency enjoys international goodwill and continues to record successes in its operations as can be seen in the statistics of arrest seizures and asset forfeiture belies the position of Yusuf.
Roli Bode-George is Director General/Secretary of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.