The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has threatened to take legal action against any act of misinformation calculated to obstruct the activities of the Agency at the seaports. The Agency also promised to remain vigilant in preventing the use of the seaports in drug trafficking. The operations of the NDLEA at the seaports is statutory and it is pertinent to set the records straight. This clarification is imperative in the light of conflicting reports intended to mislead members of the public on the official position.
Serious government business as the number of agencies approved to operate at the seaports must not be treated with frivolity. There are official documents to this effect and members of the public are advised to discountenance statements that lacks credence. I wish to state unequivocally that NDLEA has the mandate of the Federal Government to carry out full counter-narcotic activities at the seaports. As a responsible Agency of government, we considers the misrepresentation of facts as a slight on the Presidential Executive Orders on the ease of doing business.
In a letter written and signed by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman dated 2 June 2017 inviting the Agency to a stakeholder meeting; it is clearly stated that NDLEA is among the Agencies cleared to operate at the seaports. Besides, NDLEA is among the seven Agencies with Presidential mandate to operate at the seaport following the decision to reduce the number of government organisations at the ports in 2012.
Section 8 (1b) of the NDLEA Act states that the Agency shall work in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Services in monitoring the movement of goods and persons in any customs area, customs stations, customs ports or customs airports and searching cargoes and incoming and outgoing vessels, including pleasure craft and fishing vessels as well as aircraft and vehicles and, when appropriate, searching crew members, passengers and their baggage.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) hereby warn that any person or group of persons trying to misinterpret the Presidential Executive Orders for selfish reasons shall be dealt with in accordance with extant laws. “NDLEA is operating at the seaport in compliance with the law and Federal Government directive. This official position must be respected by all port agencies and stakeholders. Any attempt to violate this directive shall be considered as a conspiracy to advance the nefarious activities of drug cartels to the detriment of our national security. This must not be condoned” Abdallah warned.
The NDLEA boss urged all agencies of government and port operators to put their differences aside and work towards promoting national peace and development. “The interest of Nigeria must remain paramount above every other consideration. No one Agency can succeed in isolation, we must learn to collaborate, share intelligence and embrace latest technology in promoting government’s policy of facilitating trade and encouraging Foreign Direct Investment” Abdallah stated.
The Agencies recognised and approved by the Federal Government at the seaports include Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Police, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Port Health Authority (PHA).