NIGERIA and India have agreed to exchange vital intelligence on the activities of drug trafficking syndicates operating vulnerable drug routes between both countries.
India has also agreed to strengthen the capacity of NDLEA officers with training.
This was part of recommendations and agreements reached at the end of a two-day bilateral meeting held in New Delhi, India, between an NDLEA delegation led by Chairman Mohamed Marwa and India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) led by Director General, Satya Narayan Pradhan.
The meeting also recommended the exchange of best practices in drug demand reduction and sharing of real-time information on the involvement of nationals of both countries in drug trafficking, as well as conducting joint operations while agreeing to hold another bilateral meeting in Nigeria in 2023.
According to a statement by the NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi, another key objective of the meeting was the collaboration between NDLEA and NCB on controlling the importation of tramadol above 100mg as well as specific categories of precursors into Nigeria.
“In his presentation at the talks, Marwa expressed gratitude to NCB and its management for the warm reception accorded his delegation.
“He underscored the importance of the meeting to the global action against drug trafficking given the historical antecedents of both countries, the commonality of language, legal systems, population and the existing robust trade relations.”
The NDLEA chairman also reiterated the need for strengthened collaboration between the two agencies in the fight against illicit drug cultivation, production and trafficking.
While highlighting Nigeria’s drug use and trafficking challenges, Marwa noted the increased national efforts to adopt a balanced approach to addressing the drug supply and demand reduction.
He further underlined the importance of international cooperation and stakeholders’ engagement, adding that Nigeria has a “National Drug Control Master Plan as the veritable tool to drug control and enforcement, which has facilitated effective co-ordination at federal and state levels and is being encouraged at the local government level.”
He hoped that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would define the relationship between the two agencies concerning information sharing, assets tracing, and forfeiture of assets found to be connected to and proceeds of drug trafficking would be finalised soon.
In his remarks, Satya Narayan Pradhan of NCB welcomed the delegations of both countries for the meeting. At the same time, he highlighted the issues, particularly the trafficking of Heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in the country.
He said that drug trafficking through maritime and air routes is a challenge for both countries.
Pradhan elaborated on trends showing the emergence of illicit drug trafficking through couriers, dark-net markets and social media platforms, promising to share information about the latest machinery and technologies to fight the emerging threats.
Those on the NDLEA delegation include Minister-Counsellor, High Commission of Nigeria, New Delhi, Eucharia Ngozi Eze, Joseph Nbona Sunday, Director Prosecution and Legal Services of the Agency Ahmad Tijani and Commandant, NDLEA Academy Hamza Umar.