Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Faruk Yahaya has called for more stringent punishment for illicit drugs traffickers and offenders in the country including the possible blacklisting of the culprits, publishing of their names and denying them certain privileges which they used the ill-gotten money to acquire.
Speaking when he hosted the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig-Gen Buba Marwa at Army headquarters on Thursday, the COAS said, “This crime of drug trafficking is having serious negative effect on the society. The crime is very grave and the worst part of it is that it is deliberately done, because of the pursuit of money”.
“We really have to look for better and more punitive measures that are appropriate to deal with these traffickers. This is because these offenders see it as business not minding the damage it is causing the country, including fanning terrorism, banditry and other crimes. In fact, it is a war to checkmate this menace”.
“It is a big challenge because many of us are disturbed about the impact on our villages, communities, family members and the country at large. It is driving insecurity and violent crimes”.
Gen Yahaya said that light sentenc s of 6 months, 1 year and 2 years imprisonment was not getting the message across about the veracity of the offence committed.
Commending Gen Marwa for the giant strides and commitment in tackling the scourge since he assumed office, the Army Chief said, “NDLEA has come back to life since you took over. We at Army headquarters have always collaborated and will continue to collaborate because the negative impact is affecting us al.
“l have given a standing instruction for support of NDLEA efforts especially when it comes to raids and dismantling of drugs hideouts etc”.
Furthermore he said, “We like to be associated with all the successes you have recorded in fighting the drug scourge. As one of our own, we are proud of your focused fight against the problem. So we are always available anytime you need our support”
Earlier, Gen Buba Marwa disclosed that he was at Army headquarters to seek for more support in the fight against drugs abuse and trafficking noting that personnel of the NA deployed to NDLEA have acquitted themselves creditable in the fight against the drug menace.
He added that “recent requests made to the NA for some items to help the NDLEA meet its objectives were released speedily. Aside that, we received training support for our strike force at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry and the Army is helping us in our bid to set up the NDLEA Academy, for which we are very grateful”.
Lamenting the drug scourge in the country, Marwa said “It is really widespread and very worrisome. It does not discriminate between religion or tribe. The situation is so bad that youths and other users now drink it, eat it, and sniff it. Its effect is linked to terrorism, banditry, all sorts of violent crimes.
“So far this year, we have seized about 3.3million kilograms of drugs worth about #120billion. Some of these drugs are sold to fund terrorist’s activities. That is why we want to work with the NA in collaboration to stem this tide”