Since its establishment on December 29, 1989, by Decree 48, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has passed through the supervision of  seven senior police officers, one officer of the Department of State Service (DSS/SSS) and two army officers: DIG Fidelis Oyakhilome (rtd), CP Fulani Kwajafa (rtd), AIG Ba’ppa Jama’re, Major General Musa Bamaiyi (rtd), AIG Ogbonnaya Onovo, AIG Iliya Lokadang, Bello Lafiaji, Ahmadu Giade, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), and presently Buba Marwa, the officer with the magic wand.

Many Nigerians did not realise that there was undisclosed sterner stuff inbuilt in the retired but not tired military officer, especially as regards certain leadership qualities: Someone with good sense of leadership traits outwardly and internally. The external exhibition is what usually attracts people to the leader and, oftentimes, this is what is referred to as body language.

According to psychologists, “Body language is a type of communication in which physical behaviours, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey information. Such behaviour includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.”

A friend once said, “Communications experts believe that there are three major ways to pass a message across: First, the voice (words), second, the tone and, thirdly,  body language.

While the first conveys about 7 per cent of the entire message, the second and third convey 35 per cent and 58 per cent. I have tried researching this but haven’t been able to fully prove the percentages conclusively. There is, however, an element of truth in the submission. Body language conveys the largest chunk of the entire message.

However, in 2015, the entire country was awakened to what was supposed to be a silent revolution emanating from the office of the newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari, a man of few words, and, subsequently, his minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed to the media that Buhari was looking for the first minister to send to jail, adding that ministers were reading the President’s body language and anyone who ran foul of it would sooner than later end up in prison. Lo and behold! We are stepping into the eighth year of the Buhari administration and many government officials are swimming in corrupt practices without exhibiting any atom of fear. Indiscipline has pervaded the country like a room invaded by spiderwebs.

Many goverment officials speak the language of corruption, which is like a top-up over what it used to be. In fact, Nigerians shudder in disbelief that they ever imbibed the erroneous notion around the body language myth of the President. The body language of the President and, invariably, the  myth was reincarnated when Gen. Marwa was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of the NDLEA, on January 15, 2021.

Saddled with the task of revamping the country’s anti-narcotics agency and leading a potent and efficient campaign to curb the abuse and trafficking of illicit substances in Nigeria, as he hit the ground running, he exuded the true stern, no-nonsense body language. Years later, the true body language of Marwa resonated sequel to his epoch-making achievements and the President did not only commend him but also applauded his giant strides in attacking and curbing proliferation of illicit drugs around the country.  No one announced to members of staff of NDLEA and drug barons that the  body language of Marwa was authentic. Only insensitive persons would not read the body language correctly.

To date, the country is enjoying the full import of the Marwa’s true body language. The end result is the extra discipline exhibited by operatives of the NDLEA, who have severally shunned bribe offers from drug barons. A typical example is the arrest of a senior police officer, Abba Kyari, and other accomplices.

Marwa executed a major reform of NDLEA, leading to expansion of the agency and a radical shift to intelligence-based operations. He began his days in office with the launch of Offensive Action, a ramped-up drug supply reduction strategy that translates to relentless tracking, arrest and conviction of drug traffickers.     

Record shows that, in 22 months, NDLEA recorded unprecedented results: 23,907 arrests (including 29 drug barons), 3,434 convictions, 5.5 million kilogrammws of drugs seized, and general’s 040 that connects callers with counsellors and mental health professionals.

Impressively, the agencys drug demand reduction effort under Marwa has been hailed as revolutionary, as over 16,114 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated in 22 months.

His success at turning around the fortunes of the NDLEA in a short period to become an efficient drug law enforcement organisation has earned him several awards from the Nigerian media including: Excellence in Public Service.  Had such remarkable body language been exhibited by other security leaders, maybe there would have been a complete turnaround in  behavioural attitude to their job.



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Accountant proffers solutions to insecurity

Dr. Alex Otti was a gubernatorial guest of an online interactive media session, Abia Media Forum (AMF), last weekend. When asked for his opinion on the clamour for the establishment of state police, the chattered accountant expertly X-rayed matters by proffering solutions to an intricate security issue as if he was to analyse the financial statements of a failed bank:

If we do not change our mindset, and understand what is giving rise to insecurity today, we can populate the whole state with police and nothing will change. The level of unemployment in Abia State is  among the highest in the country.

Unemployment level is at 33 per cent. This is very high. It is recorded as the second highest in the world. So you don’t need to look any further. While there is unemployment, do you think the unknown gunmen, bandits, herdsmen and  kidnappers came from the moon? These are unemployed youths.

A look at the voluntary and involuntary unemployment suggests that people are unemployed due to voluntary and involuntary insecurity.  If we don’t solve the voluntary part and those are the ones who venture into crime, because they don’t have a choice. Statistically, these are about 80 per cent. So, if jobs were provided for these percentage, and they are out of criminality, then you have a very little percentage to deal with and you can thereby use the government force on the remaining few.

So, if  we do not solve the fundamental problem, insecurity will remain with us. We should stabilized those who don’t have jobs, create jobs for them and that is why, in my government, one of the things I want to do is to revitalize those dead industries.

There was a time when Abia industries were the largest employers of labour. There was a time when the industrial area of Aba was very active.

The area was  littered with industries and their products. Then, there were international glass  industry, metallurgical plant, where are these industries today? They have all disappeared.

We shall ensure the rebirth of these industries around the state. My government would be committed to bringing those industries that can create jobs and generate internal revenue.

Private sector needs a lot of support, while the government should lead the way.

Why do you think the Americans spend about  $200 billion annually on farmers? It is because of food security. They buy up the excesses and store them up. This is because they want to guarantee a minimum return for the farmer.

So, Ben, the answer to your question is, whether it’s  state police or not, I’m not going to get into the argument, but I’m going to deal with unemployment so that I have people who get into crime voluntarily and then I can now use the force of the state to fix the little minority who are born criminals and you wipe them up and they run away.