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2023 ‘ll be tougher for drug barons and cartels – Marwa

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2023 ‘ll be tougher for drug barons and cartels – Marwa

…26,458 arrested; 3,733 jailed; 19,401 counselled and treated in 24 months

By Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has warned that unrepentant drug barons and cartels will face tougher time in 2023 if they fail to back out of the illicit drug business.

Marwa gave the warning on Wednesday 18th January at a press briefing at the NDLEA national headquarters, Abuja to update the public on efforts by the Agency to rid the country of illicit substance abuse and drug trafficking on the second anniversary of his leadership of the anti-narcotics body.

According to him, “Last year, I issued a New Year appeal to them and also warned that those who refused to heed the warning will find themselves in a difficult situation. Already, we have 34 barons in our net and they are facing the music in court. We have secured orders for the temporary forfeiture of their assets. With our prosecution being topnotch, they can look forward to a long time in prison and final forfeiture of their wealth and assets.

Those involved in the illicit drug trade should take a cue from our actions. They can again look forward to a tough time this year. “The signs are clear: we have already in the first two weeks of this year taken down three major drug cartels, one of which has built extensive networks across the world while at least six of their kingpins are in our custody as I speak. The details you will get to know in the coming days. In these two years, we arrested 26, 458 drug traffickers, among them, 34 barons. In 24 months, we successfully prosecuted 3,733 offenders who were convicted and handed various jail terms in court.

Of the conviction figure, 2,346 were recorded in 2022 alone, which is the highest in the history of the Agency and almost doubled the highest ever recorded in the 33 years of NDLEA. This is not happenchance but a result of professionalism, determination, commitment and hard work of our officers, men and women.”

Describing 2022 as an epoch year, Marwa said, “We took a giant leap in drug demand reduction with the establishment and commissioning of the NDLEA drug abuse call centre which broadened access to treatment and rehabilitation. It was a year we had unprecedented support too, notably from the Governors’ Wives Forum which made commitments to broaden and deepen social efforts to ameliorate the consequences of drug abuse.

We also had support from our international partners, chiefly the UNODC, counterparts and governments of the United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, and South Korea. The support came in the form of donations of equipment, training, intelligence and other logistics.”

While assuring Nigerians that the Agency is firmly on the task of making Nigeria safe from illicit substances, the NDLEA boss said such may sound like impossibility but “it is achievable.” Laying bare how to realise his goal, he said, “At our end, we will sustain our Offensive Action and shut down the pipeline from other countries into Nigeria. We shall broaden access to treatment and rehabilitation, and we will continue to carry Nigerians along on this journey to curb the trafficking and abuse of substances in Nigeria.”

He warned citizens to be wary in their dealings with people of questionable wealth. “The anticipated amendment of the NDLEA Act will be this year and that will strengthen the arm of our agency in its drug law enforcement. We look forward to arresting more barons and the 34 in the net presently will know their fate in court in the weeks and months ahead.

“The Proceed of Crime Act 2022 enacted last year has given us new leverage. And I will like to remind those who benefit from the proceeds of drug crimes, this time, families, friends and associates, that our investigations are thorough and where we find any link between a drug baron and private citizens, we shall scrutinize their assets. The onus is now on every citizen, to be honest in their financial dealings with people whose source of wealth is suspect.”

He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders for their support in the total transformation of the Agency.

“We owe a lot of people and institutions gratitude for the turnaround of the NDLEA. First of all, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his tireless support which has been the driving force for change in the country’s drug use narrative. All that has been achieved so far and ongoing efforts are part of the President Buhari administration’s agenda for a better country. We similarly, appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly, through the two committees in the Senate and House of Representatives that have oversight of the Agency.

We also deeply appreciate the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, the UNODC, our foreign partners and sister agencies who have all in one way or the other been catalysts to the NDLEA productivity in the past two years.

Again, special commendations for our officers, men and women who are daily risking their lives in the forests, on the streets and dangerous terrains across the country chasing merchants of death and mopping up illicit substances. You’re all heroes!

To our media friends, we say a big thank you”, he stated.

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Nigeria, South Africa Express Grave Concern on Sudan Conflict

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Nigeria, South Africa Express Grave Concern on Sudan Conflict

By: Michael Mike

Nigeria and South Africa have expressed grave concern at the on-going conflict in Sudan which has resulted in the loss of innocent civilian lives, exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, displaced millions of people, affected women and children, and led to the total destruction of critical infrastructure.

The two countries gave their concerned in a joint statement issued by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation,
Mr. Ronald Lamola, after a meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing African Union Executive Council in Accra.

The two Ministers reaffirmed the existing strong historical bilateral relations and bonds of friendship and solidarity between their countries and committed to redouble their efforts to expand and deepen cooperation between them in various sectors.

In this regard, the Ministers undertook to finalise preparations for the upcoming session of the Bi-National commission, which is scheduled to take place in South Africa.

The Ministers further exchanged views on regional and continental matters including peace and security on the African continent. expressing grave concern at the on-going conflict in Sudan.

The Ministers reiterated a call for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the conflict and the commencement of a process to expedite access to humanitarian assistance.

To this end, both nations call on the international community to take urgent concrete and practical steps that will facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sudan in an inclusive manner
Ends

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Faceless Petition Against Lamuwa Addressed to President Tinubu Surfaces

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…Sources Insist it is a Product of Lobbyists for Juicy Ambassadorial Postings

By: Michael Mike

Some faceless officers of the federal ministry of foreign affairs have accused Ibrahim Lamuwa, suspended permanent secretary in the ministry, of  “multiple cases of sexual harassment and other infractions, even as they called for the review of ambassadorial posting that he oversaw.

In June, Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, a married female aide of Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, minister of foreign affairs, accused Lamuwa of sexual harassment and
allegation denied by Lamuwa, who claimed that he turned down Ajayi’s request to pay her bills during an overseas trip and was the reason for the hatchet job on him.

The permanent secretary following allegation from Ajayi and subsequent request to the Head of Service by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for enquiry into the case had faced probe from the Office of Head of Service, National Assembly and ICPC.

However, a new twist was introduced to the entire issue when a letter dated July 3 was addressed to President Bola Tinubu by some employees in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the aegis of “concerned and patriotic foreign service officers,” claiming that the accusation against Lamuwa by Ajayi was not the first of its kind.

They added that sexual harassment allegations against the permanent secretary have become “a recurring feature in his entire public service career,” including harassment of children.

They also alleged in the letter that: “His unbridled sexual assaults and harassment on minors and women is legendary.

“Cases include harassment of neighbours’ children, as a young officer, while occupying government property at the foreign affairs quarters in Gwarimpa, Abuja; the inglorious removal from his post in Canada to avoid an impending declaration of persona non-grata (PNG), and sexual assault cases involving a large number of locally-recruited staff in our mission in Dakar, Senegal.

“In Senegal, while serving as ambassador and principal representative of Mr President, ambassador Lamuwa threatened a female bank official, saddled with the management of the embassy’s account, that he would ensure the movement of the mission’s account to another financial institution in the event that she does not agree to engage in sexual activities with him.

“It took the voice recording of the incident before Ambassador Lamuwa could withdraw from his inherent evil intentions.

“More recently at the ministry’s headquarters, a married female policy officer tasked with the implementation of presidential reforms could not resist the intense pressure, and she succumbed to Ambassador Lamuwa’s threat and was duly rewarded for her compliance in the yet-to-be-released 2024 posting exercise without due diligence.

“All these incidents could have been avoided if a system of checks and balances was in place in the administration of the ministry, with the appointment of under-secretaries.”

Aside from the issue of sexual harassment, the group also accused the permanent secretary of sabotaging the ministry.
“In the last 24 months, all Nigerian missions abroad have received 20 percent of their budgeted allocation.”

They claimed: “The affected missions wrote to Amb. Lamuwa, more than 21 months ago, to appeal for the budget shortfall, a result of the government’s policy on the unification of the exchange rate, to be brought to the attention of Mr President, but Ambassador Lamuwa rather devised a plan to suffocate missions and utilize the untoward situation for his personal gains.

“With the assistance of the director of finance and account (DFA), Amb. Lamuwa suppressed all missions’ desperate appeal and began to peddle a misrepresentation to the honourable minister of foreign affairs and other high-level government officials that missions are financially buoyant and the only reason they were writing was that officers at posts, who are diligently serving the country, wanted an excuse not to return. Even with several inquiries from the state house, Amb. Lamuwa remained obstinate in his covetous plot.

“The far-reaching implication is that the jaundiced posting, as he had orchestrated and implemented, will give him unimpeded control over all the missions more than Mr President and the honourable minister of foreign affairs.”

They said embassies and offices in Asia—Rome, Geneva, Brussels, Tehran, and Bern—are drawing in debt and unable to pay rent and salaries.

They accused Lamuwa of demonstrating impunity by claiming to be well-connected to principals at the State House, particularly the office of the vice-president.

“Ambassador Lamuwa is not an example of what the civil service should promote or be proud of, as he has indeed shown great disrespect and disregard for the service and government processes,” the group added.
“Such individuals are a potent threat to society and should be confined to the walls of rehabilitation or correction facilities.”

The concerned ministry of foreign affairs officers asked President Tinubu to “direct a wider investigation of the issues stated in the letter to ascertain the facts and for necessary actions”.

A highly placed officer in the ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the letter by the faceless group who the product of those who are looking for ways to rubbish the ambassadorial posting that Lamuwa superintended over.

He said: “The rule is that if you are writing a petition you should be bold enough to put your names on it. And that the excuse that the officials might be victimized is never acceptable as it would be hard to persecute officers that may be more than ten in the civil service for writing a petition.”

He added that at the moment against the rule of the foreign service that career officers should not lobby for posting many career ambassadors waiting to be posted are lobbying emirs, kings, imams, pastors and officials in the presidency to help them get what they see as favourable and juicy posting.

He said while it is already in the public domain the allegations against Lamuwa, but the faceless petition to the president without first addressing it to the minister was a ploy to rubbish the entire process of ambassadorial posting which is almost concluded in order to smuggle some names of the list and to position them for “juicy” postings.

Faceless Petition Against Lamuwa Addressed to President Tinubu Surfaces

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China Says Preparations to Host Nigeria, Others at FOCAC Summit as Commenced

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China Says Preparations to Host Nigeria, Others at FOCAC Summit as Commenced

By: Michael Mike

The Chinese government has commenced preparation towards hosting this year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit, the Charge d’Affaires of Chinese Embassy, Zhang Yi has disclosed

Speaking at the Capacity Building Workshop for Diplomatic Correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday with the theme: “Enhancing Diplomatic Reporting in Nigeria”, the envoy said Nigeria has become China’s biggest contractor market and third largest trading partner and major investment destination in Africa

He said: “We are making full preparations for the approaching summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which will be held from September 4 to 6.

“We hope this summit will greatly enhance our bilateral relations.”

He added that: “The all-round, wide-range and high-quality bilateral cooperation between China and Nigeria has been a pacesetter for China-Africa cooperation.

“Now Nigeria has become China’s biggest contractor market, third largest trading partner and major investment destination in Africa. Practical cooperation across the board has been immensely successful.

“At present, the intertwining destinies of China and Nigeria highlight a complex narrative of development, ambition, and challenges in the modern era.

“Both nations, characterized by their vast populations and rich cultural legacies, strive to carve their paths in an ever-changing global landscape.”

Speaking on the training, the envoy said diplomatic reporters have a lot to cover on both sides in the area of development, bilateral relations and the common interest in international platforms.

China Says Preparations to Host Nigeria, Others at FOCAC Summit as Commenced

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