By Adetokunbo Fakeye
Nigeria - No fewer than 35 officers of the Marine Command and Seaports Operations of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have undergone diverse trainings organised by the United Kingdom Home Office International Operations, HOIO, in recent weeks. Of the number, five are currently undergoing a two-week Maritime Patrol and Tactical Coxswain training by the UK’s Central Maritime Training Unit based in Southampton.
The NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi who disclosed this said, the trainings, according to the HOIO, are to enhance the border control capabilities of the NDLEA by providing specialised training, mentoring and advanced drug detection equipment. Key areas covered so far include: boat handling, weapons handling, riverine operations, boarding and vessel search, among many others.
Some of the trainings, he said have been facilitated by the British Military, Nigerian Navy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP).
The ongoing two-week training of five NDLEA marine officers including their first female coxswain will enable them to plan maritime deployments, pursue, stop and board vessels on the high seas.
While thanking the UK government for its continued support and commitment in helping the NDLEA to enhance its capacity and capabilities to tackle drug trafficking, Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged the officers to remain steadfast in their professional calling and ensure they bring to bear the essence of the training on their formations and colleagues.
He assured them that he will continue to prioritise training and retraining for all officers, men and women of the Agency.
Kris Hawksfield, the Home Office International Operations Regional Manager for West Africa in his remark during his visit to the team undergoing training in Southampton stated that HOIO was immensely proud and honoured to work with and support the work of NDLEA.
He added that the UK remains committed to strengthening the mutually beneficial work of the Agency to interdict, seize and destroy illicit substances and drugs which would otherwise harm Nigeria and the UK.