A KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY CHAIRMAN/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, NDLEA, BRIG. GEN. MOHAMED BUBA MARW (RETD), OFR, AT THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) ON 25TH AUGUST, 2022, AT MERIT HOUSE, MAITAMA, ABUJA.
- Let me start by expressing my pleasure at being here, in this charmed circle and at this milestone occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA. On behalf of officers and men of NDLEA, I join in your felicitation and also offer my congratulations to the association and all its members.
- Today is a day to appreciate the good work of HURIWA. As society becomes more fragmented, lots of news items, especially those of sensitive nature to equity and justice are edged out of headlines and cover in favour of more sensational or click-bait friendly items. But the existence of this branch of journalism ensures that important news of human rights concerns do not escape public consciousness. In that way, HURIWA is a beacon of hope that people in power and in positions of authority will be held accountable for their action, and that justice and equity is assured for every member of society.
We must, therefore, appreciate and commend the forethought that led to the founding of HURIWA.
- Even as we celebrate this milestone, permit me to remind us all that the election season will be upon us soon and all hands must be on deck to ensure that we steer the ship of this country to safe harbour. In this, everyone has a role to play. As an element of the Fourth Estate of the realm, HURIWA’s watchdog role is crucial to the success of the entire process.
- For us as a nation, the election period is filled with anxiety because of its attendant cycle of violence and social upheaval, often caused by unscrupulous politicians who in their do-or-die effort to capture power resort to underhand tactics including arming thugs to disrupt the electoral process. Not only do such behaviours disenfranchise others and prevent them from exercising their civic duty, they inevitably jeopardise peace and security in society.
- We are aware of the role of illicit substances in the escalation of violence and breakdown of law and order.
Psychoactive drugs like methamphetamine, pharmaceutical opioids and cannabis are accompaniments to the tools of election violence.
- Gentlemen of the media, a world devoid of illicit drugs is a safer place. Indeed, there will always be conflicts and conflicting interests in society, but as we have learnt through decades of experience, the situation becomes more dangerous when illicit substances are in the mix, and even more precarious during the season of election.
- With this knowledge, NDLEA is working in partnership with other security apparatus to ensure that Nigerians have a safe election experience come 2023. We shall redouble our effort to make sure we take out of the system substances that can catalyze violence.
- In this regard, we will rev up our offensive action as the country draws closer to electioneering campaigns, by deploying the full resources and assets of the Agency to track, discover, interdict and mop up dangerous substances from every nook and cranny of our society.
- We have made important seizures in the past two weeks, including 2.3 million tablets of illicit pharmaceutical opioids and 3 drums of methamphetamine, which if they had fallen into wrong hands would no doubt play destabilising roles in the months ahead.
- Let me use this opportunity to give the assurance that NDLEA is working towards a peaceful poll and will not relent in it’s effort to cleanse the country of illicit substances. You can look forward to further positive results in the weeks and months ahead.
- Similarly, let me also call on HURIWA to play its role to the fullest in the coming electoral season. It is by playing our roles accordingly that we can build the society we desire.
Once again, congratulations and happy 15th anniversary.
Thank you all for listening.