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Drug War: Assets Confiscation Will Weaken Cartels- Marwa

Drug War: Assets Confiscation Will Weaken Cartels- Marwa

Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has charged other other Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa to consider targetting the assets of drug cartels as a veritable tool that will weaken criminal narco networks.

He gave the charge while delivering Nigerias statement at the virtual extraordinary session for Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies to share experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the world drug problem, on Tuesday 21st September 2021.
According to him, the disruption of the traditional criminal trafficking routes means that law enforcement personnel must be familiar with new technologies, techniques and strategies employed by organized criminal groups and traffickers. In order to proactively deal with these new challenges, there is, therefore, an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation in identifying and managing evolving challenges in drug trafficking. We must continue to weaken criminal drug networks through effective asset tracing and confiscation.

We should, therefore, deepen international cooperation to address the increasing links between transnational organized crime, corruption, illicit financial flows, trafficking in drugs and related crimes. Let us not spare any effort in eliminating barriers to effective collaboration as we demonstrate commitment to our shared responsibilities.

While stating that Nigeria has remained dynamic in her counter narcotic operations in line with the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire by drug trafficking cartels to explore new markets and routes in furtherance of their criminal activities, Gen. Marwa told the global audience that “We are taking steps to tackle the online distribution of narcotic drugs, which has become prevalent among organised drug trafficking criminal groups, particularly since the global shut down last year. In the last eight months, Nigeria has made over 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilograms of drugs seized with over N100billion in cash and seized drugs.”

He listed other proactive steps taken by Nigeria to address and counter the various aspects of the drug problem. “We have developed the 4th edition of our National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, with four strategic pillars namely: Supply reduction, Demand reduction, Access to Controlled Medicines for medical purposes, Governance and Coordination.
“As part of our control programs, the country recently launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to further amplify the national drive on both drug supply and drug demand reduction. As a result, we are collaborating with all levels of government, civil-society groups, Non-governmental Organizations, schools and relevant institutions, he added.

He emphasised the importance of strengthening international cooperation in addressing drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crimes, especially on the African continent. “Nigeria is committed to strong regional alliances which in the short term could be fostered through Memoranda of Understanding between our different agencies in the African Continent and beyond. A good example was the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEA), he assured his counterparts.

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Senators reject bill seeking to to reduce CBN’s regulatory power on FX market

Nigerian senators have rejected a bill seeking to amend the Foreign Exchange Act of 2004 expected to reduce the regulatory function of the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Fx Market.

The bill, titled “The Foreign Exchange (Control and Monitoring) Bill, 2024 (SB. 353),” was sponsored by Sani Musa (APC-Niger), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and was first read on Tuesday, February 20.

According to NAN, Musa described the bill as crucial legislation intended to repeal the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap. F34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He stated that the proposed law would regulate, monitor, and supervise market transactions and related matters.

He added that the bill will stabilize the country’s foreign exchange market.

“The Bill seeks to stabilize the value of the currency by ensuring the liberalization of foreign exchange transactions to maintain an equilibrium of the balance of international payments.”

However, senators vehemently opposed the bill.

They said it would be counterproductive to CBN’s effort at stabilizing the foreign exchange market.

Senators who opposed the bill are Solomon Adeola (Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation), Tokunbo Abiru (Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions), and Aliyu Wadada (Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee.

Senator Ibrahim Dankwambo (APC-Gombe), giving reason for opposing the bill said that passing such a law would confuse Nigerians.

Similarly, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC-Edo) pointed out that the senators who had spoken had meticulously summarized and amplified the contradictions and negative implications of passing the law.

Oshiomhole said he believes the bill should not proceed further, as it would effectively take over the CBN’s monetary policy regulations.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, urged Senator Musa to withdraw the proposed law for further consultations but the senator declined.

Senator Akpabio then called for a voice vote to decide its approval or rejection for a second reading and the majority of lawmakers voted against it.

The development comes as the Naira recorded its first appreciationp against the dollar on Thursday, exchanging at N1,554.65 per dollar.

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Oyebanji Seeks Belgium’s Partnership in Technology, Agriculture, Intellectual Capacity Devt for Wealth Creation

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji says his administration is building blocks for mutual bilateral relationships between the State and developed countries of the world to turn around the fortunes of its citizens.

Governor Oyebanji made this known during a meeting with the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Pieter Leenknegt at the Belgium Embassy in Abuja, on Wednesday, where potential areas of collaboration were discussed.

Governor Oyebanji who was accompanied by the some state officials, including Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Performance Management, Mr Niyi Adebayo; and Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akin Oyebode, DG office of partnership Biodun Oyeleye, highlighted some critical areas of the State’s 30 – year development plan.

He noted that the state government has a clear vision of opportunities in the areas of ecosystem innovation, technology, renewable energy, environmental management and agricultural production and exportation as well as intellectual capacity development for wealth creation.

“Our vision for Ekiti State is clear. Despite the various challenges, indices and factors being that we are landlocked, we are committed to exploring and leveraging opportunities in ecosystem innovation, technology, renewable energy, and agricultural production. Collaboration with developed nations is crucial for the actualization of our 30-year development plan and ensure sustainable growth and prosperity for our people.”

The Governor highlighted the state’s substantial investments in social programs, commercial agriculture, and various intervention initiatives aimed at boosting the purchasing power of Ekiti’s citizens stressing the necessity of international collaboration to fully realize the state’s ambitious 30-year development plan.

In his response, Ambassador Leenknegt acknowledged Ekiti state’s efforts, which align with global best practices and ECOWAS standards. He advised the Ekiti government to expedite the completion of the state’s airport to improve access and connectivity.

He commended the initiatives behind the Ekiti Knowledge zone noting its potential to transform local knowledge into wealth, expressing Belgium’s interest in partnering with Ekiti State in areas such as communication technology, transportation, and tropical agriculture, including cacao and palm kernel production as well as enhancing academic partnerships between Belgian institutions and universities in Ekiti State.

“We recognize and appreciate the significant strides being made by the Ekiti State government. The Ekiti Knowledge Zone is a remarkable initiative with the potential to turn local knowledge into wealth. Belgium is keen to explore collaboration in areas such as communication technology, transportation, and tropical agriculture, including cacao and palm kernel production.” Said the Ambassador

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NCAA to sanction airlines over deceitful departure schedules

National carrier gets licence today, local airlines fault process

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has condemned what it calls the prevalent cases of deceitful departure time scheduling by airlines, warning the erring airlines to desist from the infraction or face dire regulatory actions.

The Acting Director General, Civil Aviation, Nigeria, Captain Chris Najomo, while declaring this on Tuesday at the Authority’s corporate headquarters in Abuja, said the NCAA now runs a zero-tolerance approach to regulatory infractions.

Speaking through the NCAA Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mr. Michael Achimugu, the acting DG warned the airlines to desist from the infraction or face dire regulatory actions.

“He made the ease of doing business the crux of his action plan for the NCAA. In line with that action plan, he has made processes for licensing easy for operators. The time to secure AOC is now shorter and less cumbersome than it used to be in the past,” he stated.

“The NCAA therefore expects reciprocity from airlines. Chief of which is world-class services to passengers.

Najomo said that if the NCAA is making doing business easier for operators, the operators must satisfy the passengers too with superior services.

He said, “It has come to our notice that some airlines are being reported for advertising deceitful departure times. The NCAA regulation says no airline shall display deceitful passenger departure time at its counter, advert material, or on its website.

“We want to make it very clear that the DGCA has directed monitoring and offenders will face serious regulatory actions.”

According to him, the Authority believes in safety, discipline, and economic regulation which is evidenced in the recent suspension of ten PNCF holders for failing to comply with the recertification advisory issued in April 2024.

He indicated that whilst the NCAA supports airlines to be profitable because of their critical value to the economy, it is important passengers are treated fairly.

Speaking about the ease of doing business environment at the NCAA, Capt. Najomo said the ease of business is an area the Authority will continue to improve.

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