Presidential candidates should reel out their anti-drugs agenda: – says HURIWA
*Backs amendments to NDLEA ACT
Civil Rights Advocacy Group: – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has charged the presidential candidates in the February 25th 2023 presidential poll to speak out on their unique national anti-drugs blueprints given the extensive achievements made by the incumbent administration in waging war against illicit substances and hard drugs.
HURIWA has also charged media houses and Nigerians to demand from the leading Presidential contenders such as the People’s Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar; Labour party’s Peter obi, All progressives congress Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others to immediately educate the electorate on how each of them plans to sustain the intensive crusade against hard drugs currently being spear headed by Brigadier- General Mohammed Buba Marwa-led National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Also, the civil rights group demanded a blueprint from the Presidential hopeful on how to revive the near moribund National Agency on Foods and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC).
HURIWA which commended the NDLEA for battling drug barons and for substantially investing in rehabilitation of drug addicts however wondered why NAFDAC was not similarly assigned to a vigorously committed operational head but rather left to degenerate in leadership status in the area of fighting fake and substandard drugs.
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said it is critical that the presidential candidates are tasked to publicize their individual counter narcotic blueprints because it is important that the next president won’t be allowed to downgrade the vigorous war against drug traffickers that the NDLEA under President Muhammadu Buhari kick-started in full gear.
HURIWA said the efforts being made by the General Marwa-led NDLEA to rid Nigeria of the infestation of hard drugs barons and to delist Nigeria from the global notoriety as a major transit front for major drug barons from South America has brought a lot of acclaim and phenomenal global image to Nigeria just as the Rights group has charged the Presidential candidates not to allow Nigeria become once again a haven for trafficking of illicit substances and hard drugs by unscrupulous barons.
HURIWA said it is pleasing that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Marwa, confirmed that the agency has secured 3,733 convictions of drug dealers in 24 months just as a total of 26,458 drug traffickers including 34 drug barons, were also arrested within the period. The Rights group said it is an uncommon achievement for the NDLEA to have reached the phenomenal milestone of 2,346 convictions recorded in 2022 alone, the highest in the history of the agency and almost doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of NDLEA. HURIWA applauded NDLEA also for counseling 19,401 addicts during the period.
HURIWA stated thus: “NDLEA under the current dispensation under the leadership of General Marwa has given Nigeria great global image by the uncommon feat of ensuring that 34 barons are in their net and they are facing the music in court Just as NDLEA has secured orders for the temporary forfeiture of their assets.
HURIWA applauded NDLEA for achieving within two years the arrests of 26, 458 drug traffickers, among them, 34 barons. In 24 months, NDLEA successfully prosecuted 3,733 offenders, who were convicted and handed various jail terms in court. We agree with the NDLEA hierarchy that this is not a coincidence but a result of professionalism, determination, commitment and hard work of our officers, men and women.”
Relatedly, HURIWA has endorsed the move by the National Assembly to amend the NDLEA Act which is presently in its final stage of amendment at the National Assembly just as HURIWA said it is salutary that it is a private bill sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Senator Hezekiah Dimka, and it will among other things remove the option of fine in the sentencing of offenders as well as make punishments for drug offences more stringent.
HURIWA said: “Whilst commending the initiator of this amendment bill to the NDLEA Act, we urge the National Assembly to ensure that the amendments are quickly effected so President Muhammadu Buhari can have it signed into law to further boost the fight against drugs through a consolidated legal framework that supports stringent legal sanctions for such heinous crime like drug trafficking.”
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