Sunday, 23 February 2014

2015: NDLEA targets VIPs, private jet owners

The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said it has intensified its efforts to screen all passengers, including “Very Important Persons” and private jet users, in all ports across the country.

The agency said this became necessary to intercept drugs trafficked and money laundered by politicians ahead of the 2015 elections.

The Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday that the agency had resolved to be proactive and remain vigilant at all times.

He said, “The NDLEA incapacitates drug trafficking cartels mainly by drug seizures and tracing of drug proceeds. I can tell you confidently that illicit drug money will have no place in the forthcoming 2015 elections.

“There are several strategies in place to prevent criminal funds in electioneering. The agency enjoys robust political will in the enforcement of counter-narcotics and money laundering legislation in Nigeria.

“We have the presidential mandate to dismantle drug cartels and there are no exemptions.”

Ofoyeju noted that because drug traffickers moved their drugs at anytime, with no specific period for drug trafficking, this placed an additional responsibility on the agency.

He said high profile persons would not be exempted from screening in all ports in the country.

“In drug screening, we place everybody on an equal platform. There is no special treatment for VIPs. The NDLEA complies with international best practices in the discharge of its functions.

“We must protect the image of our country. And in doing that, no stone shall be left unturned. Everyone must be subjected to drug screening,” Ofoyeju said.

He noted that one of the cardinal points of the Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, was the strict enforcement of Section 3 Subsection 1c of the NDLEA Act, which empowers the agency to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from drug-related offences or property whose value corresponds to such proceeds.

“The principle behind it is for the agency to go after every drug and if you miss the drug, do not miss the proceeds,” he added.

Ofoyeju said the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, the country’s busiest airport, was in 2013 linked with other international airports in the world under a Special Airport Communication Project.

He added that the linkage was supported by the Nigerian Government, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Canadian Government, the European Union, the United States, the INTERPOL, and the World Customs Organisation.

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