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NDLEA has scaled up its preparedness to intensify the war against drug cartels as 650 of its operatives graduated from the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna State, on Saturday.
The operatives drawn from the agency’s Strike Force unit went through weeks of rigorous specialised training.
Director, Media and Advocacy (NDLEA), Mr Femi Babafemi, stated after the graduation that the agency’s chairman, retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, admonished the operatives to bear in mind that the training was a milestone in their careers.
Marwa was represented at the graduation by his Special Adviser, retired Col. Yakubu Bako.
“This specialised training and the skill acquired will no doubt enhance your competence in the special role you are playing for the agency in the war against illicit drugs.
“It is important that I should remind you that as the agency scales its operation against illicit drugs trafficking; your service will become increasingly essential to the successful attainment of our organisational goals.
“The special nature of your training requires that you serve as a force multiplier to the conventional NDLEA staff in the field.
“I have no doubt that you will measure up to the demand of the job because generations of military and paramilitary personnel have passed through this course and have distinguished themselves,’’ Bako said.
He said that the progress report received and the on-the-spot assessment conducted confirmed that the objective of the course had been achieved.
He urged the graduating operatives not to rest on their oars as their competence would be tested from time to time by challenges that would recur in their career paths as anti-narcotic operatives.
The training, he said, was to add strength and purpose to NDLEA’s drug supply reduction effort as the operatives were expected to provide cover for other officers and men of NDLEA who work in dangerous terrains.
“The merit of having the Strike Force was evident in February when NDLEA successfully carried out raids, seizures, and destruction of a significant amount of psychotropic substances.
“These were in territories which used to be out of bounds for narcotic officers,’’ he said.
He added that 255 hectares of Indian hemp farms were destroyed in five local government areas of Ondo State in a seven-day operation in February.
“Similarly, in Lagos State, NDLEA successfully raided a notorious drug den at Patey Street, Lagos Island, seized more than 5,000kg of Indian hemp and other assorted drugs and also arrested the drug kingpin and six suspects.
“Both operations were dangerous, but the Strike Force unit provided the needed cover, repelled mob attack, and ensured our officers and men performed their duty safely,” he added.
Bako urged the operatives to shun any enticement that might come their way as attraction to such enticement would be in conflict with the ethos of their profession as anti-narcotics operatives.
“Anything that will compromise your discipline and dedication to duty should be avoided.
“As anti-narcotic officers, you bear a huge obligation to remain incorruptible in the face of any temptation that might be sprung on you by drug traffickers and barons,” he stressed.
The Strike Force unit is one of NDLEA’s tactical creations of 2021. (NAN)