Nigerian and South African anti narcotics agencies have met to forge stronger operational ties that will enhance the war on drug syndicates operating between the two countries.
A signed press statement on Tuesday by the spokesman of the Nigerian anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi read that as part of efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking between Nigeria and South Africa, senior officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA have held a two-day meeting with their South African counterparts in the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation popularly known as HAWKS to forge stronger operational ties that will herald tough times for drug syndicates operating between the two countries.
Speaking during the start of the meeting at the NDLEA national headquarters in Abuja last Monday, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), who was represented by the Agency’s Secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, said the deliberation which is a follow up to a virtual one held in April 2022, will “bridge the gap and rekindle our efforts by deepening collaboration in line with the principle of common and shared responsibility in tackling the global drug problem.”
According to him: “Among other expected outcomes of this visit is the need to have a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding to combat drug trafficking and related crimes between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of Nigeria and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) HAWKS, of South Africa. This will provide a framework for enhanced information exchange, and Joint Operations/Joint Airport Interdiction; all promising dividends that will benefit our two organizations and countries greatly.”
Marwa, while emphasising the increasing sophistication of drug trafficking cartels, particularly the proliferation of methamphetamine laboratories and the emergence of fentanyl production facilities, which pose grave threats to the safety and well-being of citizens in both countries, said this demands swift action through the seamless exchange of intelligence and technical expertise.
He added that: “This will not only help to halt the spread of illicit production of these deadly illicit drugs but also prevent locally produced ones from being smuggled between both countries. The need for collaboration became urgent given the volume of trade and social interactions between the two countries leading to a corresponding trade in illicit drugs. Another expected outcome of this visit is the expectation of an agreed mechanism that would lead to the dislodgement and disruption of major drug trafficking syndicates operating between the two jurisdictions.”
In his response, leader of the South African delegation, Lt. Gen. Senaba Mosipi stressed that the collaboration between the two countries was necessary because criminals operating in the drug trade recognise no borders, or geographical boundaries, noting that to effectively combat their criminality, proactive measures within the arm of the law are imperative.
He said: “We have the capacity to work together no matter the distance between our countries. The operational collaboration between NDLEA and HAWKS is important to combat the operations of criminal syndicates in our two countries.”