Buba Marwa

By Emmanuel Onwubiko


“Every man’s work is a portrait of himself”.


-Cyril Chukwudi Ibe;


“Still in search of a fine mind”.


The above citation from a tiny book written way back takes us to the profoundly scholarly observation that was made by Mark H. McCormack in one of his fantastic books titled “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”.

Obviously, Mark McCormack has a reputation as the writer of this famous international bestseller which fills the gap between a business school education and the knowledge that comes from day-to-day experience of running a successful business and managing people.

As we settle down in this reflection to focus on the multidimensional steps that the Executive Chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (CON) rtd, has adopted to attract global attention to the anti-drug war currently going on under the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari, we will do justice to this write up by drinking from the rich fountain of wisdom erected by the author Mark H McCormack.

The aforementioned author wrote thus: “As we have seen, your secretary is your official link with the outside world and how she deals with it is a mirror image of how the outside world sees you. If she is abrupt, you are perceived to be abrupt.

If she drops confidential information you are perceived to drop confidential information. If she drops names on your behalf, you are perceived as a name dropper. If she is officious and overbearing, then you are thought to be officious and overbearing.”

The author argued further that the secretary of a leading British television executive consistently makes it impossible for me to arrange any sort of meeting with her boss. On countless occasions, I have tried to arrange a get-together at any time during the next two weeks only to have his secretary tell mine that he is always ‘too busy. Yet without fail, when I get to the man directly, meetings are easy to arrange.

Of course, secretaries, he said, do play a certain protective role. By screening you from others, they enable you to act rather than react to a variety of business situations. However, there is a whole range of positive and negative ways in which this screening can be done. It is often as simple as the difference between saying. Who may I say is calling?’ and Who’s this?

The author also observed that: “Secretaries often come off as drill sergeants, and I have seen executives who are amused by their abrupt manner and even encourage it. I suspect that those who do think that the abruptness makes them appear that much more important.

Of course, this applies to all subordinates. If they work directly for you, it is likely that you are being judged at least partially by how they present themselves. So if you become aware of obvious rough edges, it is in your self-interest to point them out.”

The above narratives of a secretary can be referred to as a metaphor of how the management and staff of the NDLEA has through the dint of good example by their head, continue to exhibit compulsive and merit based services to the motherland through their well coordinated combat against drug barons in Nigeria and by extension, the Chief executive officer of NDLEA has deliberately launched a global wide advocacy drives to seek for international working partnership with some of the best authorities in the battles against transnational hard drug trafficking.

These deliberate global wide advocacy campaigns against hard drugs and the fruitful search he has so far actualized to get agreements entered into with international bodies and many other nations of diverse continents on exchange of intelligence on movements of hard drugs, will remain one of the best moves made by Nigeria in over fifty years to battle and combat the scourge of drugs. There is gainsaying the fact that hard drugs trafficking is an international crime that go beyond the shores of Nigeria and because Nigeria is not a producing nation for hard drugs, it is however a transit nation. This demands that all hands must be on deck to uproot these traffickers and barons both from within and without.

Only recently, Nigeria and India have agreed to exchange vital intelligence on the activities of drug trafficking syndicates operating vulnerable drug routes between both countries, while the latter will also 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 its Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) CON, OFR and its India counterpart, Narcotics Control Bureau, NCB, led by its Director General, Mr. Satya Narayan Pradhan.

The meeting also recommended 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. Another key objective of the India meeting was the collaboration between NDLEA and NCB on how to control the importation of tramadol above 100mg as well as certain 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.

He reiterated the need for strengthened collaboration between the two agencies in the fight against illicit drug cultivation, production and trafficking. While highlighting Nigerias drug use and trafficking challenges, he noted the increased national efforts to adopting a balanced approach to addressing both the drug supply and demands 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 expressed the hope that a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, that would define the relationship between the two agencies with reference to information sharing, assets tracing and forfeiture of assets found to be connected to, and/or proceeds, of drug trafficking would be finalised soon.

In his remarks, Mr. Satya Narayan Pradhan of NCB, head of Indian delegation welcomed the delegations of both countries for the meeting, while he highlighted the issues particularly the trafficking of Heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in the country. He said that the drug trafficking through maritime and air route is a challenge for both countries.

He elaborated on trends showing the emergence of illicit drug trafficking through couriers, dark-net markets and social media platforms with a promise to share the information about the latest mechanism and technologies to fight the emerging threats.

Those on the NDLEA delegation include: Mrs. Eucharia Ngozi Eze, Minister- Counsellor, High Commission of Nigeria, New Delhi; Mr. Joseph Nbona Sunday, Director Prosecution and Legal Services of the Agency; Mr. Ahmad Tijani and Mr. Hamza Umar, Commandant, NDLEA Academy. The NCB team led by its DG had nine other officers of the Bureau at the meeting.

Besides, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the International Criminal Police Organisation, popularly known as Interpol, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will enable the anti-narcotics outfit contribute to the pool of global criminal data and also access records of 195 countries around the world.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) signed for the agency, while the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of National Central Bureau and Vice President, Interpol Africa, Garba Baba Umar, endorsed the document on behalf of the global body.

Speaking at a brief ceremony at the National Central Bureau (NCB) Secretariat, Force Headquarters, Abuja, yesterday, Marwa reminded the audience that drug business is international in scope, while the scourge of substance abuse has continued to destroy lives, youths, families and communities, stressing that it also fuels criminality, as perpetrators either consume illicit substances or use proceeds to fund their nefarious activities.

His words: “As we are after the drug cartels and barons, we are not under the illusion that they won’t be after us. But, we are always steps ahead of them. This is why all security agencies must collaborate to fight the cartels, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. We are, therefore, happy that the signing of this MoU allows us access to contribute and benefit from criminal records of 195 countries globally.”

He commended the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, for his leadership acumen and commitment to the anti-drug crusade in Nigeria, citing the IGP’s memo to all police formations nationwide to always transfer drug cases to NDLEA across the states for investigation and prosecution, as a mark of cordial collaboration.

Earlier, AIG Garba Umar lauded Marwa for transforming NDLEA to a groundbreaking agency within a short time of assumption of office. He called for more support for the anti-narcotics agency.

He highlighted the significance of the pact to the success of NDLEA operations and pledged the full support of Interpol at all time.

Importantly, impressed by the high standards that the current hierarchy of NDLEA has set in the fight against drugs, the United Kingdom says it will provide £1 million worth of support to enhance the operations of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) in 2022 and additional provision over a period of three years.

Nick Fowler, the director of home office international operations, said this when he led a team on a courtesy visit to Buba Marwa, the NDLEA chairman, at the headquarters on Friday in Abuja.

In a statement by Femi Babafemi, director, media and advocacy of the NDLEA, Fowler commended Marwa for the success that the agency has recorded under his leadership.

Fowler said the agency had been able to play a significant role by intercepting loads of illicit drugs going to the UK.

He said his office was well positioned to share intelligence with NDLEA.

He also assured that the British government was willing to enhance NDLEA’s operations with provision of strategic equipment, logistics and training.

These, he said, were part of the £1million plan, to be implemented in 2022 with additional support over the next three years.

Earlier, Marwa expressed appreciation to the visiting UK team and the British government for the past support to NDLEA. He said with the expansion of the operations, command structure and staff strength of the agency, he would need more support and collaboration from the UK government.

He stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been supportive to the agency in critical areas.

Marwa, therefore, asked for strengthened intelligence sharing collaboration, provision of essential operational logistics and training among others from the UK government.

The UK team was made up of Julie Hartfree, Africa regional director, and Kris Hawksfield, West Africa regional manager, both of the home office international operations. NAN

There is a popular African saying that good things have no hiding place, Nigeria was elected to host the next conference of Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies Africa, HONLEA, in 2023. This was the unanimous decision of the regional network at the close of its 2022 annual meeting in Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend.

The move by other heads of anti-narcotics agencies in Africa to have Nigeria host the 2023 conference followed the country’s good relationship with others on the continent and NDLEA’s exemplary performance in the renewed fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

In the course of the weeklong conference, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), CON, OFR, led the Nigerian delegation in presentations on every item of the agenda for discussion, where he shared the country’s experience and successes so far recorded in the drug war as a result of bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation with other stakeholders in Nigeria and partners at both regional and international levels.

On the sidelines of the conference, he also led his team in bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Kenya, Gambia, Ghana and South Africa on areas of mutual interests such as intelligence sharing, joint operations, training and exchange programmes, among others. The bilateral meetings also agreed on the setting up of technical working groups on both sides to work on Memorandums of Understanding that will formalize the partnerships and working relationships.

Marwa had in his discussions at the bilateral meetings emphasized the need to build new and strengthen existing partnerships among anti-narcotics agencies at the sub-regional and regional levels to make trafficking of illicit drugs and movement of drug lords difficult on the African continent.

The chairman of NDLEA has indeed demonstrated the universal truism that states as follows; “If I take care of my character my reputation will take care of itself.” as stated by D.L. Moody. It is the expectation of patriotic Nigerians that government currently and the government that would be elected, won’t take any toxic actions administratively and operationally, to take Nigeria back to the days that hard drugs trafficking was a pastime for men of the underworld who call the shots even within the corridors of power. These efforts of Marwa should and must be consolidated and made to become sustainable for a long period of time, long after the current hierarchy has served out her statutory tenures.


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