Monday, September 20, 2010

Nigeria: U.S. Strikes-Off Nigeria From 'Major Drug Nations' List

The United States of America has de-listed Nigeria from the list of major drug trafficking countries due to the laudable efforts of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to statement issued by NDLEA, "The United States government has gone a step higher than the usual annual drug certification of the country to outright removal of Nigeria from the majors list. The removal which is an acknowledgement of the agency's current drug control achievements is contained in the 2010 annual drug certification report."

The agency said that the reports was presented to congress by President Barack Obama on Friday, noting that it was the first time the country would be delisted from the drug majors list since 1991.

The statement also said that President Obama pointed out that "Nigeria, a worldwide drugtrafficking focal point, makes counternarcotics a top national security concern for the country. United States and international data show a continued strengthening of illegal drug trafficking between Latin America and West Africa, especially via Brazil and Venezuela , with a considerable portion of illegal product destined for Europe".

The CEO of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said the honour was for all Nigerians and well deserved.

"The removal of Nigeria from the majors list is an endorsement of our collective resolve to have a drug free society. It is a well deserved honour to all Nigerians. A product of dedication, transparency, hardwork and cordial working relationship between Nigeria and United States in drug control through the political will of President Goodluck Jonathan" Giade stated.

According to the report, Nigeria, Brazil and Paraguay were removed this year from the list because they no longer meet the criteria for the list according to US law. The assistance of international donors and organisations to West African governments to improve their counternarcotics capability is increasingly urgent.

The United States fully supports all efforts to promote, preserve, and protect the stability and positive growth of countries in West Africa ".

While thanking President Barack Obama and Americans over what he described as candid assessment of the country's performance, Giade noted that drug control has defined indices such that the most assiduous efforts of countries could be easily measured.

"I appreciate President Barack Obama and Americans for this candid and credible assessment. The removal speaks volumes concerning our impressive scorecard and determination to address the drug problem. Illicit trade in narcotics transcends national boundaries. Our foreign collaborators also have a way of monitoring our most assiduous efforts. All exit and entry points will remain invincible to drug criminals through effective drug interdiction". Giade stated.

The NDLEA boss thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for his anti-drug policies. He also commended all stakeholders, reassuring that no drug baron or major drug trafficker notwithstanding the status will go unpunished in the country. "NDLEA is one of the best anti-drugs Agencies in Africa and we are prepared to make sacrifices to sustain and improve on our drug control performance" he promised.

Giade also said, "Our level of professionalism shall be further consolidated on the tripod of transparency, anti-corruption and respect for the rule of law. It is a call to duty that demands higher commitment on our part. We shall continue to partner with the United States and other stakeholders. No stone will be left unturned in our quest for a drug free society." Giade assured.

NDLEA said that 20 countries on the list this year are Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

"In Nigeria, US drug certification dates back to 1991 following the country's inclusion in the majors list. However, between 1994 and 1998 Nigeria was decertified and was given a national interest waiver in 1999. The following year it was certified and continued to enjoy certification till last year before its removal this year," NDLEA narrated.

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