The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of neglecting to comply with the provisions of Section 45 of its Act, a development which has resulted in the inaccurate statistics of Nigerians in jail abroad for drug relate-offences.
Section 45 of the NDLEA Act mandates all Heads of Nigerian Diplomatic Mission abroad to furnish NDLEA with the statistics of Nigerians in jail abroad for drug related-offences every six months. But NDLEA’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Femi Oloruntoba accused the Foreign Affairs Ministry of failing to ensure compliance with the provisions of the law, which has in effect hampered the agency from gathering accurate statistics.
Oloruntoba said this in Lagos at a workshop organised by the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC). The workshop was with the theme: “Government Agencies and Enabling Laws: Review and Overview.” Oloruntoba, who was represented by Yohanna Mshelia, an Assistant Director with the NDLEA, also accused some foreign countries of failing to corporate with the agency in that regard. He said lack of cooperation from some foreign countries, particularly the western countries “is also a major concern. These countries refuse to provide relevant information relating to Nigerians involved in drug trafficking in their countries on the grounds that double jeopardy exists in Nigeria – Decree 33 of 1990.”
Besides, Oloruntoba pointed out that the absence of drug enforcement officers in Nigerian missions abroad also constitutes major factor in the non-accurate statistics of Nigerians in foreign prison.
According to the current statistics available to NDLEA, over 600 Nigerians were arrested in Thailand in 2002 for drug related offences, out of which 521 were transferred to Nigeria between 2003 and 2008. He said Russia arrested about 229 Nigerians in 2001 and none has been transferred to Nigeria, while between 2003 and 2004, Indonesia arrested 40 Nigerians out of which none has been transferred to Nigeria.
In 2004, 25 Nigerians were arrested for drug related offences in Italy and none of these Nigerians has been transferred back to the country. Oloruntoba added that in Pakistan, only statistics of Karachi Prison was available, and the said statistics revealed that 226 Nigerians were arrested for drug related offences in 2006. He said better statistics “may be available with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At present,
what the agency has are figures obtained when on visit to the relevant countries. The NIA also sometime provides information to the agency. “As can be seen above, the statistics available are not up to date and very unreliable as the agency does not have the capacity, or the resources to gather these statistics. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a crucial role to perform in this respect,” he said Customs Boss Tasks Nigerians in Diaspora to Help Develop Nigeria James Emejo in Abuja
Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, has appealed to Nigerians in the diasporas to return home and take advantage of the opportunity provided by President Goodluck Jonathan to contribute to the development of the country.
He said the country would be better of if those who studied or worked abroad could come back home to offer their experiences towards the development of the country. Speaking at the weekend in Abuja while being presented with a special
award by the Bulgarian Alumni Association, the customs boss said he was one of those who had studied abroad but returned to commit his experience to impact on Nigerians. He said:” I am here and I have been given an opportunity by President Goodluck Jonathan and I have excelled. So if they come, they’ll also have that opportunity. I think if we have about 10 persons who would come back after studies abroad like me, the country will be better of.”
Specifically, he said the experience acquired during his studies in Bulgaria had helped immensely in shaping his current six-point agenda which had repositioned the customs service. He, however, dedicated the award to the ‘hardworking’ officers and men of the NCS, adding that the honour would further “motivate us for better performances.” Inde said staff welfare and capacity-building of its workforce were critical to his success in the service. The customs is highly commended for establishing critical reforms that have revolutionised the NCS since his assumption of office. He had among other things approved a 100 per cent increase in the salaries of officers and men – a monetary incentive which had made the service the envy of all.
“Every customs officer is now computer literate and are motivated to work,” he told THISDAY. He also called for joint effort to secure the country’s borders stressing that the “Security of our border should not be seen as the duty of customs alone. We must also see ourselves as stakeholders in Nigeria’s security.” On his part, the Minister of Special Duties, Malam Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, described Inde as a workaholic, disciplined and patriotic Nigerian whose competence in the discharge of his duties had significantly transformed the NCS.
Also speaking at the award ceremony, the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the nation was proud of the customs boss whom she described as gentle, hardworking and devoted to his job. She said Inde had made a difference by transforming the customs and urged other Nigerians in the Diaspora to emulate him and come back home to share their experience and ideas.
“A river which forgets its source will dry up,” she said, adding that Nigeria must be fixed by Nigerians.”