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Brig-Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa and the Fight against Drug Abuse, Trafficking

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Brig-Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa and the Fight against Drug Abuse, Trafficking


Drug abuse is a global problem, and the menace has obliterated a significant portion of our youth’s potential. Many people’s lives have been destroyed by hard drugs, which have shattered families and wreaked havoc on society. It is hard to overstate the connection between drug abuse and criminal behaviour. Boko Haram, pirates, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other criminal masterminds use hard drugs to carry out their murderous actions against Nigeria’s law-abiding people.

The good news, however, is that Nigeria has started witnessing the rise of a new National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), a resolute organization that is now taking the drug war to the barons’ doorsteps, under the leadership of a renowned retired Army officer, Brig-Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa (Rtd).

Brig-Gen. Marwa was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in January 2021.  He took over from Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) who completed his tenure in office.

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Barely two months after Marwa assumed office, the NDLEA confiscated more than N60 billion worth of illicit drugs from drug barons and suppliers attempting to smuggle or transport the drugs into or out of the country. However, this is not surprising because Marwa came highly recommended, having served as chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, between 2018 and December 2020.

Muhammad Buba Marwa is a retired Nigerian army officer who served as Governor of Borno State, and then Lagos State during the military administrations of General Ibrahim Babangida and Late Gen. Sani Abacha. He was born on September 9, 1953 in Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. He hails from Michika L.G.A of Adamawa State. He attended the Nigerian Military School – Zaria and the Nigerian Defense Academy-Kaduna. Later, while in the army, he studied at Pittsburgh University, where he obtained a master’s degree in International Relations, and obtained another master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

He was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in the Nigerian Army Reconnaissance Corps before moving to the Armoured Corp. He held various posts in the army, including Brigade Major (23 Armoured Brigade), Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the then Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma, Academic Registrar of the Nigerian Defense Academy and Deputy Defense Adviser in the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1990, he was appointed Governor of Borno State. In 1992, he became the Defense Adviser to the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

From 1996 to 1999, Marwa was Military Governor of Lagos State. During his administration, he implemented programs such as “Operation 250 Roads” which greatly improved motoring conditions in the state. He revamped public health institutions, and ensured that free malaria treatment was available to all. His administration upgraded infrastructure in the poor neighborhoods in Lagos state. He proclaimed an edict to regulate rents, stopping the “Jankara” method of eviction of tenants and ensuring that due process was followed. Marwa became well respected in Lagos because of “Operation Sweep”, a joint police and military venture that helped reduce Lagos state notorious crime rate.

In May 1998, Mohammed Buba Marwa imposed fuel rationing in Lagos State in an attempt to tackle petrol shortages and reduce chronic queuing at petrol stations. In July 1998, Marwa opened a new asphalt plant in Lagos, the largest of its kind in Nigeria. His exemplary leadership earned him “Nigeria’s Man of the Year 1997” by Newswatch, Nigeria’s oldest and influential weekly magazine.

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As the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Marwa has undertaken a re-engineering of the agency for optimal performance, starting with the seven-member harmonisation committee to address all forms of distortions hampering the smooth running of the Agency.

Aside from addressing crucial issues that dampen morale, such as perennial promotion and stagnation, he shows his leadership qualities by moving around the commands to hold personal pep talk and to give assurance to agents across Nigeria.

Before the emergence of Marwa as the Chairman of the NDLEA, the Agency was rather dormant. He took over the helm of affairs in January this year and now the Agency is in the forefront in the fight against drug abuse.

For his patriotism and diligence which have left imprints on the country, showing both the old and the young the way to go, OurNigeria News Magazine, organiser of the OurNigeria News Awards (ONA) has ratified to honour him with its 2021 Man of the Year award. The award presentation is scheduled to take place on the 28th of January 2022 at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.


Brig-Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa and the Fight against Drug Abuse, Trafficking

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