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Nigeria arrests 8,634 drug traffickers in 8 months – Marwa

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Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd)
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Nigeria arrested no fewer than 8,634 suspected drug traffickers from January to August 2021, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has disclosed.

Marwa told the Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday that NDLEA also made seizures of more than100 billion naira in drugs and cash over the period.

“Our consistent targeting of drug trafficking organisations has resulted in the arrest of 8,634 suspected drug traffickers and the seizure of over 100 billion Naira in cash and drugs,” he said.

“Perpetrators will go through the criminal justice system, with their fundamental human rights being strictly upheld.

“Against the backdrop of the strong linkage between illicit drug consumption and insecurity, it is worthy of note that Nigeria made its first seizure of 74.119 kg of Captagon brand of amphetamine, presumably destined for use, to fuel insurgency and other violent crimes and criminalities, which Nigeria is currently grappling with.

“Nigeria is happy to report that the EU funded, UNODC sponsored Cannabis Cultivation Survey is expected to bring to the fore the full extent of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria and make it easier to target measures to contain this perennial menace,” Marwa said.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NDLEA boss thanked the international partners for supporting Nigeria’s fight against drug abuse and trafficking.

Marwa said the unexpected emergence of COVID -19 pandemic, no doubt, had further accentuated the scourge of drug trafficking and related crimes globally.

“It is worthy of mention here that one of the challenges of the pandemic is the proliferation of online sale of drug cookies and use of courier services to move illicit drugs.

“However, we were able to intercept, trace and dismantle most of the drug cells involved.

“This constitutes a clarion call for all nations of the world to unite in adversity by taking concerted and well-coordinated actions at national, regional and international levels to address and counter the world drug problems, through evolving drug control policies, effective crime prevention nechanisms and complete overhaul of the criminal justice system.”

“Nigeria will remain undaunted in adopting dynamic strategies to counter new approaches adopted by organised criminals, in order to make drug trafficking unattractive.

“It will ensure forfeiture of the criminally derived assets, a tested and powerful deterrent to the proliferation of Drug Crimes and Criminalities,’’ he said.

In addition, Marwa told the UN committee that Nigerian government had produced the improved fourth edition of the Drug Control Master Plan 2021 to 2025 with the technical support from the UNODC, EU funding.

He said the document comprehensively addressed four thematic pillars of supply reduction, demand reduction, access to controlled medicines for medical purposes and coordination and governance.

“Nigeria is committed to the periodic monitoring and evaluation of the master plan with relevant stakeholders for optimum results,’’ the Nigerian drug enforcement boss stressed.

According to him, the Nigerian government has exhibited the political will by demonstrating high commitment to the protection of public health and safety with the launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign.

“This campaign is a call for civil action for all Nigerians to buy in and take full ownership of the fight against the menace of illicit drugs.

“More so, Nigeria’s drug control efforts have received a tremendous thrust with unprecedented stakeholders’ involvement.

“We have engaged civil society groups, non- governmental organisations, academia and governments at all levels, public enlightenment is also being strengthened with remarkable media visibility against illicit drugs and related criminalities,’’ he said.

The NDLEA chief also told the committee that appropriate strategies had been adopted to address the issue of stigmatisation of people who used drugs in the country.

He said strategies adopted to address stigmatisation included meeting the needs of vulnerable communities and groups such as women, girls, children (out of school and homeless), internally displaced persons, among others.

He said Nigeria recognised drug use disorder as a public health issue and the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown necessitated the establishment of UNODC-EU sponsored Drug Help Net, a network of professionals who provided over the phone assistance to people who use drugs and their families during the lockdown.

The NDLEA, saddled with eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, and trafficking of hard drugs, is present at the nation’s international airports, seaports and border crossings and it tries to eradicate cannabis by destroying plantings.

NAN reports that the agency also targets leaders of narcotics and money laundering organisations. (NAN)

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Buhari Pledge to Rescue Kaduna Train Attack Hostages

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assured to rescue 31 hostages taken in a train attack and return them “safe and unhurt”, his office said, five months after their abduction.

Gangs of bandits with no ideological or religious motives are known to kidnap for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria.

On March 28, armed men blew up a train travelling between Abuja and Kaduna and opened fire, killing eight people, wounding 26, and taking an unspecified number of passengers hostage.

A week later, they freed one hostage — a top bank executive — as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, because of his “advanced age”.

Dozens of hostages have already been freed following negotiations, but 31 remain in the kidnappers den.

“I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers,” Buhari told representatives of the families of the hostages in Abuja on Thursday.

He said his government would ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages to their families.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,” he assured.
The president commended the security forces on recent successes against kidnappers and “terrorists”.

“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and a number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop, or reduce,” he said.

“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country,” he said.

“Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,” he added.

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja
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The Nigerian Army on Thursday buried five members of the Guards Brigade killed by bandits during a clearance operation in the Federal Capital Territory recently.

The soldiers were laid to rest at the Guards Brigade Cemetery, Maitama , Abuja, according to a statement by Guards Brigade spokesperson, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa

Among the deceased was Captain Attah Samuel.

“Until their demise, the gallant soldiers were serving with 7 Guards Battalion, Lungi Barracks Maitama and 176 Guards Battalion Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja respectively,” the statement said.

“While reading the funeral oration of the deceased officer and soldiers, the Commanding Officers of 7 Guards Battalion Lt Col Salim Yusuf Hassan and Commanding Officer 176 Guards Battalion, Lt Col Joshuah Kolowale Adisa described the late Captain and Soldiers as thoroughly bred Infantrymen who were genuinely committed to their duties in defence of Nigeria and whose contribution and services would be greatly missed.

“They asked God to console the families left behind stressing that while the Brigade and the Nigerian Army mourns, the families should take solace in the fact that they have fought a just fight and their souls shall continue to rest with the lord till the resurrection morning.

“Highpoint of the event was the presentation of accoutrements by the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen James Alilu Ataguba to the next of kins of the deceased personnel and lowering of the remains of the fallen heroes.

There was also the blowing of the last post and gun salute to bid the departed heroes fair well

“The burial process started with Christian wake keep and funeral service held in honour of the fallen heroes at St John’s Military Church (Protestant) before the final Internment at the Guards Brigade Cemetery Maitama Abuja.

“The solemn ceremony was witnessed by senior officers of the Nigerian Army, Commanding Officers, Staff Officers of the Brigade, Bwari Area Council Chairman, Hon John Gabaya as well as family members and the barracks community.”

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Two More ISWAP Terrorists Linked To Owo Church Attack Arrested – DHQ

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor
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Two more Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, have been arrested.

Gunmen had on June 5 stormed the Catholic church, killing over 40 worshippers and injuring others.

The incident drew widespread condemnation, with President Muhammadu Buhari ordering security agencies to arrest the attackers.

On June 9, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, blamed the attack on ISWAP, but the claim was countered by Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Just yesterday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the Director of Defence Information, Jimmy Akpor, said the two suspected ISWAP fighters were arrested through the collaborative effort of the military and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022,” Akpor said.

“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.

“Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.

“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.

“It is instructive to note that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.”

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