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NDLEA justifies seizure of drug barons’ assets

Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), has justified the decision of the anti-narcotics body to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers which has yielded positive results.

Marwa  stated this Wednesday while explaining  the rationale behind the fresh drive of the agency at a press conference during the kick-off of the week-long activities to celebrate the 2024 International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, in conjunction with other stakeholders like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Abuja.

“Permit me to share with you that our offensive action against drug cartels and traffickers; launched in January 2021, has to date continued to yield the desired result with the arrest and prosecution of several barons.

“As you are all aware, two serial traffickers got life imprisonment in court in April. Our prosecution efforts have continued to achieve successes in courts given the painstaking investigations and diligence in the prosecution of cases.

“Our water tight case preparations are unassailable. This has been further strengthened with our forfeiture regime with the passage of Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA 2022),” Marwa said.

NDLEA boss added that apart from conviction, the assets of the convicts used as instrumentality of the crime or the proceeds derived from the crime would be forfeited to the federal government.

 He said a civil action could be maintained against assets reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime in which case the burden of proving the licit origin of the asset would be on the defendant who claims ownership of the asset.

The chairman who was represented by the agency’s secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, said the flagship programme, War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), was built on ‘the whole of society approach’ to preventive action against drug abuse which has been a tremendous success.

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