Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd.), has said there was an urgent need to strengthen regional and international cooperation, to identify and manage emerging trends in drug trafficking.
Marwa who made this call during the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in Kyoto, Japan, on Wednesday, said the new trends was through increased online criminal activities, in a bid to navigate the global shutdown of traditional trafficking routes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement by the agency’s Director Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, on Wednesday in Abuja, Marwa said criminals and organised criminal groups had deployed new strategies.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need to strengthen regional and international cooperation to identify and manage the various jurisdictional manifestations of this ugly trend,” he said.
The NDLEA boss said the country was addressing and countering illicit trafficking in drugs through an integrated and balanced approach implemented under the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP).
“The NDCMP outlines strategies to neutralise threats to law enforcement efforts by strengthening regional and international cooperation in countering illicit trade and trafficking in narcotic drugs. One example of such is ‘Operation Eagle,’ which is a joint operation with select countries to counter the menace of illicit drugs.
“Nigeria has adopted a holistic national anti-corruption strategy that provides an entry point for both state and non-state actors to contribute to the fight against corruption at all levels. We are actively implementing the Justice Sector Reform Strategy covering issues such as International Cooperation Mechanisms, Mutual Legal Assistance and reform of the Criminal Justice System,” Marwa added.
According to him, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act enacted in 2015 has expedited the trial of corruption cases and resulted in deterrent sanctions for the corrupt.
“Nigeria recently enacted a Mutual Legal Assistance Law, and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act to create a stand-alone Financial Intelligence Unit. Other necessary legislation such as the Proceeds of Crime and Whistle-Blower Protection bills are receiving urgent attention.
“We have also launched two significant initiatives: The open treasury initiative, which establishes a financial transparency portal to keep the public informed about financial transactions and a pilot beneficial ownership register focused on the extractive sector,” he said.
Marwa noted that the private sector was not left out in the various reforms and current interventions being introduced by the government, as Nigeria adopted a Code of Corporate Governance in January 2019.
“This Code, which covers the private sector entities, including professional bodies, strengthens regulatory oversight and monitoring by accountability and anti-corruption agencies. Our focus is building institutions to combat corruption including its links with drug trafficking, illicit financial flows, money laundering and other forms of organised crime,” he added.
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