By Ambrose Obioma Okehi
In order to make goodness attractive and equally reward good works for humanity, most in the area of port sanity as well as acknowledging one’s efforts and roles towards eradicating the nation of drug abuse, trafficking and illicit affairs, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in their foresightedness has decorated the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam as its Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse for his noble roles in the recent time.
The event which took place on Thursday July 17, 2021 at the National Headquarters of the biggest freight forwarding association in the country, brought the timbers and calibres in maritime industry together to witness the honouring if Dr. Aniebonam as they saw the whole thing as adding another feather to the cap of the founder of Dr. Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam.
Speaking at the event, the Director, Seaport Operations, NDLEA, Omolade Faboyede disclosed that the Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse honour on Dr. Aniebonam was an initiative of the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, NDLEA, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd.), who felt that there was need for the agency to honour selected Nigerians snd meaningful stakeholders who distinguished themselves in the society by joining the agency (NDLEA) in its war against drug abuse.
The agency’s Director acknowledged that the Organization u see the current leadership is doing well in rebranding the the image of drug law enforcement agency.
According to her, there is a new NDLEA in place at the moment.
Faboyede said, “you will attest to all the arrests we have been having all over the whole place” adding that “it has never been like this before, we have been having several arrests coming in but NDLEA cannot do it alone and that is why we are here today.”
She revealed that in the survey of drugs carried out in 2019, the agency recorded a figure of about 10.6 million people abusing drugs in Nigeria even as she insisted that drug was a catalyst to terrorism, kidnapping and all the violent, criminal vices in the country.
She said: “There is no crime that is being committed in this nation today that has no underlining of drug in it. What is happening to our youths, in fact, both conventional and non-conventional drugs is what they are taking now. In fact, there is this methamphetamine that gives them temporary madness when they take it. So, a lot of things are going on and there is need for us to fight together. NDLEA cannot do it alone and that is why we are here today.”
While reading the letter nominating Dr. Aniebonam as NDLEA Ambassador, Faboyede who is also Deputy Commander General of Narcotics noted that: “The war against drug abuse initiated by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 26th June, 2021 in commemoration of the 2021 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking. According to the President, the war against drugs and illicit trafficking is the war that must be fought by well-meaning citizens.
“It is with this above, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brigadier General Muhammad Buba Marwa, OFR (rtd.) has considered you, Doctor, worthy to be an Ambassador of the War Against Drug Abuse.
“As an Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse, you are expected to synergize and collaborate with NDLEA in propagating the war against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Doctor, you have a voice among the freight forwarders, you also have a voice among the maritime industry practitioners, you have a voice in Nigeria and we believe that with your voice, you can help us win this war against drug abuse. Permit me to congratulate you as we look forward to your participation and achievements in this all important war.”
In his acceptance speech, the founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam thanked the agency for finding him worthy to be honoured, adding that he as the fiunder as well his Organization, NAGAFF have been collaborating with NDLEA and that the association would continue to partner with the agency.
Recalling how the relationship between NAGAFF and NDLEA started in the late 90s, the early years of the now great association, Dr. Aniebonam said, “I want to say sincerely that I founded NAGAFF in 1999 and since then, it has been a very good relationship between NAGAFF and NDLEA.
“As a matter of fact, it is to my knowledge that when NDLEA first made appearance in the port, there was this resistance but that was for those who do not really understand the importance of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the role they play in the lives of Nigerians especially the young ones and under my watch, I am aware that NAGAFF stood their ground and gave them all the necessary support to enable NDLEA carry out their statutory responsibilities and till today, it has been a wonderful relationship between us and NDLEA.
“Many people that operate in the port think that when you talk about hard drugs you talk about cocaine and heroine, no, I think that your presence here has made us to understand that there are more serious things that happen in the port which we do not know. There are no gainsaying the fact that you all know that drug is a serious issue, it is not something good to be talking about. It is good that some of us are coming in to play a role as role models, to begin to discuss the issue of hard drug and the inherent danger in it.
“So, we shall continue to do our best in our own little capacity and followership. Yes, NAGAFF has a large followership, well over 5,000 members cut across the entry points of Nigeria. And if we get in other sectors like you are making efforts, I am sure some of these issues on hard drugs will be eliminated.
“On behalf of NAGAFF, we will continue to partner with NDLEA. We, again, emphasize our pledge to continue to enter into strategic and responsible partnership with NDLEA.”