The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has threatened to take legal action against any act of misinformation calculated to obstruct its activities at Nigerian seaports.
The anti-narcotics agency also promised to remain vigilant in preventing the use of the seaports across the country for drug trafficking.
In a statement by NDLEA spokesperson Mitchell Ofoyeju, the agency insisted that its operations at the seaports were statutory and it was pertinent to set the records straight, noting that this was necessary in the light of conflicting reports intended to mislead members of the public on the NDLEA’s official position.
A report last week mentioned the NDLEA as one of the government agencies removed from seaports across the country as part of the executive order on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the country.
Mr. Ofoyeju insisted that the NDLEA had the mandate of the federal government to carry out full counter-narcotic activities at the seaports, noting that as a responsible agency of government, it considered the misrepresentation of facts as a slight on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s executive order.
He explained that in a letter written and signed by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, dated June 2, 2017 inviting the agency to a stakeholder meeting, it was clearly stated that the NDLEA was among the agencies cleared to operate at the seaports.
“The NDLEA is among the seven agencies with the presidential mandate to operate at the seaports following the decision to reduce the number of government organizations at the ports in 2012,” Mr. Ofoyeju said. “Section 8 (1b) of the NDLEA Act states that the agency shall work in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Services in monitoring the movement of goods and persons in any customs area, customs stations, customs ports or customs airports and searching cargoes and incoming and outgoing vessels, including pleasure craft and fishing vessels as well as aircraft and vehicles and, when appropriate, searching crew members, passengers and their baggage.”
Commenting on the development, Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) warned that any person or group of persons trying to misinterpret the presidential executive order for selfish reasons would be dealt with in accordance with extant laws.
He insisted that the NDLEA was operating at the seaports in compliance with the law and federal government directive, emphasizing that the official position must be respected by all port agencies and stakeholders.
“Any attempt to violate this directive shall be considered as a conspiracy to advance the nefarious activities of drug cartels to the detriment of our national security. This must not be condoned,” Mr. Abdallah warned.
He further urged all agencies of government and port operators to put their differences aside and work towards promoting national peace and development.
According to Mr Abdullah, the agencies recognized and approved by the federal government at the seaports include the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Port Health Authority (PHA).