Since January 2021, when the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) came under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd) as the new Chairman/CEO, the agency has received a new burst of life. The number of arrests and drug seizures that were made in the past eight months has probably never been made in the past 30 years of existence of the security agency. With more than two million kg of illicit drugs seized, 5000 drug traffickers arrested and over 500 convictions, the former Military Administrator of Lagos state have proven that he is the round peg in the round hole when it comes to fighting drug crimes. He has also affirmed the confidence reposed on him by the President Muhammadu Buhari who gave him the job.
It will be recalled that until his appointment early January 2021, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd) was the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) spanning 2018 – 2020. This position probably allowed the retired Army General to have an on-the-spot assessment of the decadence which has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation. The country is said to have 15 million citizens abusing drugs.
In his exclusive interview with the National President of National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), SAMSON OKI, in his Abuja office, the Director of Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Femi Babafemi disclosed more on the performance and potentials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He spoke on the role that parents and the general public can play so that the country can cut the rate of drug abuse and addiction.
NAOSNP: The NDLEA has received new life under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd). Tell us ‘how has he been able to bring about this new reality’?
Femi Babafemi: With the coming of Gen. Marwa January of this year, it has changed a lot of things on ground in NDLEA and the best way to show this is to give an overview of what is being happening between January and now, either in the area of operations, administration, or two major plans of the agency which is drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction.
Talking about drug supply reduction, the agency has for the past 5-6 months arrested over 5000 drug traffickers from whom more than 2 million kg of drugs have been seized. Out of this arrest, we have had more than 500 convicted in court. We have 3000 still facing charges.
As I speak with you, we have counseled, rehabilitated, and reintegrated back into the society a total of 2,772 of those that abuse drugs. What this shows is a fair balance between efforts on drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction.
In the area of drug demand reduction, we are also advocating that people should undergo drug test. This is basically to ensure that those that are not yet on drugs are prevented from going on drugs and those that have started to make sure that they are discovered early and treated because the earlier we discover, the better for you because you can seek treatment.
This is why the Chairman has been advocating drug test for intending couples, students – fresher and returning, those seeking public office, workers, so that we can save quite a number of people from slipping into the cycle of drug abuse. Approximately 15 million Nigerians are abusing drug in the country.
NAOSNP: How have you been able to keep the officers and men of the NDLEA motivated for this task?
Femi Babafemi: In the areas of administration, the new leadership met a number of issues on ground. One of them is the issue of career stagnation of officers and men and that was why one of the first things that the Chairman did was to set up a Harmonization Committee and the result of that was promotion of 3506 officers of the agency which is about 70% of the workforce. As I speak with you, there are efforts on that regard as another committee is sitting on how to resolve the issue of harmonization of ranks and promotion of officers and men. We also talk of some of the liabilities met on ground in terms of payment of entitlement to officers and men and death and burial expense to families of deceased officers. Efforts are ongoing and by tomorrow, families of 188 deceased officers will be paid their burial entitlement that has been hanging since 2014/15.
All of these are been done by the leadership to motivate and encourage officers to do their work. That is why today, you will see everyday arrests and seizures at the seaport, airport, land borders, on the roads and across the country. What we do give out in our statement to the public is probably 0.1% of the figure of our arrests and seizures because we don’t want to bore the public. We just pick a few of what we think are a representative of the work of the agency so as to get the people informed.
We are glad that Nigerians now know the enormity of the problem of drugs in our country. The agency is not relenting yet because the agency has the support of the President, the highest authority in the country who is supporting the Chairman in every way possible and that is why we are going all out.
NAOSNP: In Nigeria, we have the issue of ‘crime fighting back when it is been tackled’, what are you doing to ensure that criminals don’t attack your men and officers?
Femi Babafemi: The work of the agency is intelligence-based. One of the things that the Chairman has done is to strengthen our Directorate of Intelligence to make them proactive, to make them respond to threats, but beyond that he has also created an Elite Strike Force which are well-trained, heavily armed, and is headed by a Director.
These are part of the things that the Chairman is doing to reinforce the confidence of the officers when they are going for operations and again to protect and secure vital installation and premises of the agency as well as other officers in their various assignments.
NAOSNP: In Nigeria, we have the issue of ‘strong men but not-strong institutions’, Nigerians are hopeful that this giant strides will not end with the tenure of Brig. Gen. Marwa, what are you putting in place to ensure that NDLEA will continue to be a strong institution beyond now?
Femi Babafemi: This is one of the things we are hoping that will happen. That is why whatever is being done now is building solid and strong structures for an institution that is already over 30 years old. There is quite a lot of concerted efforts been put in place to build strong structure for the agency so that whoever is going to come after him will have something solid to build on.
NAOSNP: Talking about the incessant rate of addiction among youths, how do we nip it in the bud?
Femi Babafemi: There are quite a number of factors responsible for this and I tell you that the consciousness is there now because of the volume of arrests and seizures. Prior to January, we didn’t realize it but the problem had been there. But because we are hearing of arrests and seizures know that is why everyone is surprised that the issue is this much.
Quite a number of factors are responsible. One of them is poor parenting because for every problem, there is a root in the family level. And for the solution also, it must also start from the family level. When parents abdicate their responsibility to bring up their children, for example, a parent sending children to bring alcohol or drugs is indirectly encouraging the child to take the same thing.
Some parents also don’t bother when they see changes in the attitude of their children. For instance, if your kids that you usually watch TV together is withdrawn into the room and you are not bothered to ask questions. When your child is avoiding eye contact with you meaning he is trying to prevent you from checking the redness of his eyes or hide something from you. Or suddenly your children start moving in the company of strange fellows. These are red flags that parents overlook to find out what is wrong and by the time they know, the kids are neck deep into drugs.
We also have the issue of peer pressure. They want to try what their friends do. Social media influence is another. When they see what celebrities do, yet some of them may just be doing it for the sake of the arts performance, some of these young ones go and try it and that is how we have a generation of addicts.
Then, we cannot run away from socioeconomic issues that lead people into drug abuse and addiction. They take drugs to forget their sorrows but drugs will only give relief for hours but at the end when the drugs wear out, the problem is still there. Why do you have to compound your problem because the drug will affect your physical health? Some may even affect mental health.
NAOSNP: What more are you doing to end the scourge?
Femi Babafemi: Fortunately, we are not folding our arms. We are doing as much as possible to cut access to these drugs. That’s why you see the volume of drugs that we are mopping up from the streets. We are even destroying the farms and those concealed inside the forests. By the grace of God and with the people buying-in and taking ownership of the fight, it will be much easier to win that leaving it alone for NDLEA. We believe that we may all end up as victims if we don’t all join hands to make sure that we rid our homes, communities, and country of this scourge.
Eminent Personalities Present As Barr Ubani Gives Dad Befitting Burial in Abia
All roads led to Abia state last weekend in celebration of the life and times of Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha, the late father of respected lawyer, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani who had passed away aged 101 on 3rd January, 2022. It was a carnival-like event for the entire Ikwuano community which trooped out to welcome the hundreds of eminent personalities who visited the town from different parts of the country.
The Christian Wake, Funeral Service, Thanksgiving service and interment turned out to be a massive celebration for the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani.
He was pleasantly amazed and elated by the huge number of personalities that despised the distance and road network to celebrate with him.
In his letter of condolence earlier, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR extolled the late father, Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha and prayed for the entire family.
The Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia State, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu; Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Uche Samson Ogah; Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji; Ebonyi Guber aspirant, Dr. Ifeanyi Odii; Sen. Nkechi Nwogu; Dr. Chima Anyaso led other politicians to the funeral ceremony.
Also present at the ceremony were clergymen, traditional rulers, and community leaders. Being a member of the Bar himself, Dr. Ubani had Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, among other SANs and many other advocates including Barr. Charles Ajiboye in attendance. Members of the 4th estate and delegate members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP led by the National President and Publisher of Trek Africa Newspaper, Comrade Oki Samson also graced the event. Popular gospel artiste, Buchi and other Christian bands were also present to thrill the audience to worship songs in honor of the Giver of Life, Almighty God.
Being an only son, Dr. Monday Ubani could not hide his joy for God giving him life to succeed his father. He reveled with delight, jumped for joy, sang happily, danced freely, and beamed with smiles throughout the celebration. The teeming personalities present also joined him to make merry. It was indeed a life well lived.
Speaking with Members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP during the celebration, Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Dr. Uchechukwu Samson Ogah said that Barrister Monday Ubani is a brother to him and not just a friend. ‘We have come of age together. The death of his father is like the death of my own father, so we are here to give our father a befitting burial. Ubani is affected directly but we that are by the side are equally affected. Anybody consoling Ubani should also console us. We are all connected. I want to ask that as a Christian, Ubani should always believe that on the last day, he will meet again his father because a Christian does not die; a Christian sleeps waiting for the last day when the Lord will come. So we believe Pa Ubani has slept waiting on the arrival of the Lord.’
In the light of the degrading societal values, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development advised parents, ‘People tend to leave their responsibility to government. The integral part of society is family but overtime family values have gone. People are no longer having the values that are expected. We knew the do’s and don’ts when we were growing but it seems over familiarity with Western societies has made us to lose values but we have values and those values must be trained right from the family, church before the general society. We need to look at what we can do to improve the society. We need to go back to the drawing board.
The elites in the society have a role to play, Paul in the Bible said all things are lawful but not all are expedient. There are things you don’t do because you know younger ones are looking at you. I believe everyone has a part to play. We need to talk to our younger ones about a better way to live in the society.’
The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, during his condolence visit, described the deceased as a man who was reputed for his philanthropy, integrity, peaceful disposition and stellar achievements.
“Pa Egbedubi Nwokocha was an honorable man; his dedication and contribution to the service of humanity was remarkable, and his meekness, calm demeanor and benevolence have left an indelible mark in the sands of time. I urge you to take heart and be consoled by the fact that he lived a long and productive life”, the Speaker said.
He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.
Felicitating with the family, Dr. Anthony Ewelike noted: ‘There is nothing that anyone can desire than to have a son that can give you a befitting burial like this at 101. The son ensured that, the father found Christ before he found death. I have known his son, Barr. Ubani himself for more than 40 years.
He is my personal lawyer. He is my friend. He is like a son to me. More importantly, he is a committed, thoroughbred, born again child of God. He is a deacon in the Assemblies of God Church, Ikeja where I worship. We are all here, Pastors and deacons.’
On her part, Sen. Nkechi Nwogu shared: ‘My advice to the family especially Dr. Ubani is for him to take heart. Death is an inevitable end. Papa got up to 101. I want to age healthily and gracefully like him. I want to advice that the thing that had always kept unity, they must not deviate from it and from what Papa has done. My advice to other parents is that we are custodians to our children. We didn’t bring them to earth. The Lord asked us to take care of these children. We will give account.’
Also in attendance, the clergyman in the church that Barr. Ubani attends in Lagos, Rev. Uche Godswill affirmed: ‘Barr. Ubani is a wonderful person. He is my member, friend, brother, and adviser. From all indications, Pa Nwokocha has lived a good life. God has blessed the family. He is the only son but he has given birth to many sons. We pray that God will give them the grace to keep the legacy of goodness and goodwill that the father left.’
A learned colleague, Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN prayed for the soul of the departed, ‘May the blessed soul of Pa Ubani rest in peace. He lived an exemplary life, a life that sought after God and I think that is one of the most important aspects of the life that he lived that we should emulate.’
‘We are not here to mourn but to celebrate his life. We are also comforted by the Scripture that says pleasing is the death of the saint. We are commanded by the Scripture that we should not mourn like others. Together with Papa, we will live together in eternity. I condole with the family. There is enough comfort in the Scripture’, he told the family.
Royal fathers present at the ceremony also prayed for the family. HRH Eze Dr. Ndimene remarked: ‘The loss of one person will definitely affect a community, especially an elderly. The most important thing is peace. The family should make sure the peace is kept – the peace that their father left behind.’
HRH Eze Ben from the Ikwuano Council of Traditional Rulers commented: ‘Pa Ubani must have lived a good and decent life. I didn’t know him very well but for the display here, I can say he lived a good life. My advice to the son who is my legal adviser is to be strong and courageous. When Moses died, Joshua was afraid but God came to Joshua in Joshua 1:5,7,9 telling him to be strong and courageous. That is my message to him.’
HRH Eze C. E. Ironsi, Awom II of Umuokoro noted: ‘I don’t know him in person but we have come to condole with the son. We ask the Holy Spirit to take control.’ HRH Eze Engr. Obiziala said: ‘we have come to associate with the family from under the umbrella of Ikwuano traditional rulers. May they enjoy peace.’ Another Eze also at the reception added: ‘I have come here with my friends who know the family. May the Almighty be with his soul’.
Earlier, President of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP, Comrade Oki Samson, who spoke on behalf of the members of the association during the burial reception, commended Dr. Monday Ubani for his selfless service and contribution to the Nation, philanthropic gestures to the less privileges and giving his father a befitting carnival like burial.
In his appreciation to all present at the funeral ceremony of his father, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani indicated: ‘I must tell you that I am amazed by the large turnout of Nigerians from all walks of life, we have politicians, religious leaders, lawyers, traditional rulers, who have come to commiserate with the family. I am so grateful to God for the number of Nigerians, it was so big.’
‘To God be the glory. it is a lesson to me that whatever you are doing, people are watching. My desire is that I leave a lasting legacy. It is a privilege to do this. I am very grateful’, he concluded.
CSP Adejobi Confirmed As Substantive Force PRO
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has confirmed the appointment of CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi as the 25th indigenous Force Public Relations Officer.
A statement by the Admin Officer, Force Headquarters, SP Anjuguri Jesse Manzah, noted that CSP Adejobi was appointed in acting capacity on 16th February, 2022 after taking over from CP Frank Mba who was nominated by the Inspector-General of Police for the Senior Executive Course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos.
CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi studied Archeology and Geography (Combined Honours) from the Premier University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan. He holds a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the same University. He had a long stint as Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State Police Command from 2008 -2016. He also served as PPRO Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, in 2016 and PPRO, Lagos State Police Command between September, 2020 and August, 2021, when he was posted to deputize the former Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. CSP Adejobi has carved a niche for himself in Police Public Relations Management with the experience he has gained serving as PPRO in different Police Commands and Zone for more than a decade.
He has also served as Operations Officer, OC Anti Bank Robbery and Anti Pipeline Vandalization, Sagamu Division from 2006 to 2008; Admin Officer, Department of Operations, Police Headquarters, Ogun State in 2008; Operations Officer, Department of Operations, Lagos State Command Ikeja in 2017; Directing Staff, Police College Ikeja; and as Personal Assistant to The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
He is a member of several professional bodies and associations, which include: Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR); International Public Relations Association (IPRA); Point Man Leadership Institute, USA; International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), USA; Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP); Boys Brigade Nigeria; and the Institute of Corporate Administration, Nigeria.
Executive Order 11: IFMA Boss Hails Buhari
The President of the International Facility Management Association Nigeria Chapter, Mr. Segun Adebayo, has commended the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on his assent to Executive Order 11 on National Public Buildings Maintenance Policy.
While expressing his delight on the assent, Mr. Adebayo noted that the Executive Order is long overdue and with this action, the professional management and maintenance of the Federal assets is assured and guaranteed.
According to the President, “as we earnestly looking forward to the implementation of the provisions of the new order, through the setting up of maintenance department in MDAs, our Association is committed to collaborating with Federal Government through relevant Ministry to provide required capacity building and knowledge development”
“As an association, we have been advocating the integration of sustainable practices into the built environment and this has started yielding the desired results”
We would also want to appreciate the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN for this feat because his efforts in the ministry have yielded phenomenal results and it would positively impacts the various projects that this administration has embarked upon.”
The Executive Order states that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to establishing a sustained maintenance programme to optimize the enormous investment in public infrastructure. The Government is determined to provide sustainable employment, job opportunities for large, small, and medium-sized businesses, artisans, and persons with vocational skills. Equally, the public assets would be maintained at a minimal cost.
The Department of Federal Public Assets Maintenance will oversee the coordination, implementation, management, and maintenance of federal public assets, facilities, and premises across Nigeria. The agency will conduct maintenance needs assessment, development of maintenance plan, and the necessary procurement.
The agency will monitor the outsourced facility management services of all public buildings and likewise, establish a comprehensive database of all public buildings and facilities. Public buildings will also be modified to accommodate the special needs of persons living with disabilities while ensuring that all buildings would be able to operate at optimal capacity.
IFMA Nigeria is set to celebrate 25 years of impacting the built environment in Nigeria. The Association has always strategically aligned with other institutions in the areas of capacity building; research and development; mentorship and partnership. The current council has engaged both the private and public sector stakeholders to play up the relevance of the profession in the built environment in a complementary way.