The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said Marwa made the remark at the passing out ceremony of 2,500 cadets of Senior Officers Basic Course 16 in Jos, Plateau.
The statement said Marwa rather asked the NDLEA personnel to make their impact felt.
According to the statement, Marwa was represented by the Director Planning, Research and Statistics, Mrs Victoria Egbase.
Marwa said, “the world of illicit drugs had become complex and more devastating to society, and the dynamics of the Nigerian drug situation had become more dire.
“That was why the 2018 Drug Use Survey jolted Nigeria and sounded the alarm bell on the inevitability of arresting the situation.
“Hence, some 35 months ago, in January 2021, NDLEA was handed a lifeline to rejig its structure and improve its systems to counter contemporary drug problems.
“Today’s passing out ceremony, coming after months of rigorous training, is one of the manifestations of the ongoing restructuring in the agency.”
Marwa said having another batch of 5,000 officers to strengthen the NDLEA workforce would give the needed impetus to the fight against the abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.
He said, “in the tradition of our noble organisation and according to global best practices, this batch of officers has been trained to be efficient drug law enforcement agents.
“They have spent the past four months in training, where they have learnt the intricacies of drug law enforcement and know that their job demands sacrifice, loyalty, and discipline.
“I have no doubt that they are aware of their position as an important cog in the law and order system of society.”
Marwa noted that the officers were coming into the organisation at an interesting time when reforms were being implemented, saying that plans had been put in place for the next phase of action to curb drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.
“I must prepare your minds for the task ahead of you. The duties are such that there is no room for compromising the ethics of your profession or subverting the goals of the organisation.
“In our renewed campaign against illicit drugs, we are at a stage of ramped-up interdiction against cannabis, opioids, and other psychoactive substances.
“We cannot afford to decelerate our effort and we will not tolerate sabotage from within.
“What that means is that the injection of an additional 5, 000 officers must have an immediate and far-reaching impact on the campaign.
“In other words: everyone must make their effort count,” he said.
Justifying his charge to all officers, men and women of the agency, Marwa said, “we have seen the truth come back full circle in the past few weeks.
“Where world’s known abusers of cannabis have come out to tell the public they are either quitting or have been diagnosed with some ailment, notably emphysema, which puts them at risk of early death and mental harm.
“That should further add impetus to our collective effort to rid our society of the menace of cannabis and other such dangerous substances.
“For us in NDLEA, we hold our duty sacrosanct, and our duty is to do everything within the ambit of the law to cleanse our society of the menace of illicit substances.”
The NDLEA boss said the agency had shifted gears to become proactive by creating a number of goal-oriented programmes and efficient mechanisms, such as offensive Action and War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy.
Marwa warned the new officers that they must not be found wanting in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He said the agency was currently on the verge of expanding its presence to all 774 local government areas in the country.
“What that should tell our new officers is that there is work to do, and you cannot afford to be complacent or compromise the high standards we have set.
“On that note, let me also inform you that you must not fraternise with offenders of drug trafficking laws.
“Doing so is dangerous to your safety; it is catastrophic to your career; it sabotages organisational goals, and it is inimical to society’s wellbeing.
“Remembering this nugget of advice and abiding by it will ensure you have a colourful and gratifying career,” he emphasised.
Marwa commended the leadership of the NDLEA Academy and its team of instructors for the success of the training.
“I am proud to say that in less than two years, they have shown their mettle and successfully trained 10,000 cadets. This is historic for NDLEA,” he added.
The NDLEA boss also expressed appreciation to the people and government of Plateau, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba; the management of FRSC Training School, Jos; the Nigerian Army and other sister agencies in the state for their unwavering support.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ceremony was well attended by the agency’s top officers, including the commandant of the NDLEA Academy, DCGN Hamza Umar, Directors and commandants.
Dignitaries at the occasion included the governor of Plateau, Caleb Mutfwang, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Josephine Piyo.
Others were the chairman, House Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hon. Abass Agboworin, his deputy and other members of his committee; Gbong Gwom and other traditional rulers as well as representatives of other security agencies among others. (NAN)