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My first intervention some months back on the war against hard drugs use in the country was under the headline ‘Buba Marwa and the Bad Guys.’ And here I come again today, armed with facts on how the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has suddenly come alive under its Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa, and is giving a bloody nose to traffickers, peddlers and users of narcotic substances in the country.

On Thursday last week, Gen. Marwa was our guest at the weekly State House Press Briefing. And what an illuminating session it was. He unfolded in graphic details, with video evidences, what has been going on in the drug war.

He described 2021 as a year, “which in the annals of NDLEA is epochal, defined by the renewed war against abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.”

Everything boils down to leadership. If the NDLEA is suddenly energized and is now making conquests, it is all about leadership. And Buba Marwa acknowledges the support of leadership at a higher level. Hear him: “It is prudent for me to state upfront that a progress report of the NDLEA should not be taken as an isolated appraisal; rather, it should be taken as an integral part of the anti-drug trafficking thrust of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Not only did Mr President set the tone for the fight against illicit drugs by handing the Agency the mandate, the direction and the set objectives, he also provided the catalysts-willpower, financial intervention and moral support that boosted NDLEA’s capability to deliver.”

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Give it to President Buhari. He has identified some round pegs for round holes in the country, given them the necessary support, and they are doing exploits. Buba Marwa is one of them.

I recall a meeting at the Presidency some months ago, where the issue was whether to bring in foreign hands into the battle against insecurity in the country, or not. President Buhari was all for the efficiency and efficacy of local capacities, citing what Buba Marwa was doing at NDLEA as an example. He used that to illustrate the fact that Nigeria has all it takes to prosecute its wars at different fronts and levels.

What has the NDLEA done under Marwa, with the support of President Buhari, and the technical support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC?

First, internal reforms and cleansing. Hear Marwa: “It is pertinent to note that the anti-drug trafficking agenda can hardly be prosecuted without the Agency itself first going through a reform process to transform it into an efficient drug control apparatus.”

He described the situation he met when he was appointed at the beginning of the year as “a far cry from the ideal. The NDLEA at the time was decrepit, grossly incapacitated, hampered by institutional encumbrances, poorly funded and understaffed” with the officers and men working under disenchanting circumstances.

Hence, the starting point was a reinvigoration of the workforce. About 3,506 officers whose careers had stagnated for as long as 20 years were promoted, unpaid entitlements were cleared, including burial expenses to the families of 188 officers who died in the line of duty, and owed since 2014.

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Hear this. Despite the dangerous nature of the work, NDLEA never paid burial expenses. It was officers and men who would contribute from their pockets to bury the dead, and give tokens to their families. How dispiriting, disillusioning, depressing. President Buhari and Buba Marwa have reversed the trend.

Still on internal reforms, the agency has created directorates on Planning, Research and Statistics, Special Duty and Strike Force, being trained at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Directorate of Media and Advocacy, as well as of Airport Operations. The overall result is that we now have a properly structured intelligence-driven anti-narcotics organization.

The National Drug Use Survey of 2019 by UNODC gave a shocking portrait of drug abuse in Nigeria. The country has a drug use prevalence of 14.4, which is almost three times the global average. Holy Moses! Jumping Jehoshaphat!

The NDLEA under Marwa, therefore, embarked on drug supply reduction activities to mop up existing illicit drugs in the country, stem the influx of narcotic drugs, disrupt, disconnect and dismantle the trafficking pipeline.



Here are some of the achievements as at October 15, this year, according to Marwa, a former military Governor in Borno State, and administrator of iconic influence in Lagos State.



-9,355 arrested traffickers, including six drug barons
-Over 5,00 drug offenses cases filed in court
-Over N100 billion worth of drugs and cash recovered.


-More than 2.7 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs seized in 10 months
-5,579 drug users counseled and rehabilitated.



Mind boggling seizures and interceptions made include 230 tons of cannabis in Edo State, 451,807 Captagon tablets at Apapa seaport, in Lagos, 1,994,400 capsules of Tramadol, 144,400 bottles of codeine syrup, 32.9 kg of cocaine worth over N9 billion in October alone, and the biggest single seizure from an individual in 15 years, 26.840 kg of cocaine smuggled from Brazil.

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It was quite pleasing and encouraging to hear this from the NDLEA boss: “By the end of this year, we would have dealt sufficient decisive blows to the cannabis cartels in the country, going by the rate we’re going into the forests to destroy hundreds of hectares of their plantations in our ongoing operations.”



Pause and think of the havoc that would have been wreaked on the fabric of our society, if all the intercepted narcotics had been successfully spirited into the country. The pervasive insecurity issue cannot be divorced from the use of hard drugs, and can only be exacerbated by an unbridled flow.



President Buhari is giving the support necessary, and Marwa and NDLEA are giving the bloody nose to the bad people, unscrupulous men and women who will make money at the detriment of humanity and the society. No wonder Buhari shot them in his first coming.



Who says this country is irredeemable? Not with men of sterling character like Buhari and Marwa.



*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

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First Bank

“There is always a lot to spend money on, and sometimes the bills can’t wait for the salary to be paid” Tope complained when his wife informed him that they had run out of cooking gas and had to refill.


He had just moved to a new location with his family and the bills seemed to be coming at such speed that he could hardly keep up.


Barely three weeks in the new apartment, the electricity bill had arrived. The new apartment was bigger than the last and their two double-seater cushions left too much space vacant in the seating room. They needed to get a couple more furniture to fill the space. His wife had not stopped reminding him of the car he promised to get, in order to ease mobility for the family.


Everyone has been a Tope at some point in time, and that is why everyone needs a financial partner like FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services brand. FirstBank offers a variety of loan products that can help you ease off pressure as you work towards meeting pressing and urgent needs, as well as medium term goals.

FirstAdvance is a digital product tailored for Salary Account holders, who have an urgent cash need and would want to access salary advance from the bank. If you have held a salary account with FirstBank for up to two months, you can access 50% of your monthly net salary and as much as half a million naira (N500,000).


A physical visit to the bank branch is not required as you can access it via the FirstMobile (FirstBank’s Mobile banking app) and USSD channels. To access the service via USSD, dial *894*11# from the phone number linked with your FirstBank account. This has proved to be the solution for many people while emergencies arise before pay day. There is no point in waiting for month end before you can take on those pressing financial obligations.

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FirstCredit is another digital product designed to cater for the non-salaried individuals. All that is required is for your account to have been active and transacting in FirstBank for six months or more to access FirstCredit. It provides customers with quick and easy access to loans to fund urgent transactions. You do not need a smart phone or a physical visit to the bank to get this done as well. This credit facility can be accessed using a mobile phone and the USSD banking code, *894*11#. You can access as much as N300,000 to be repaid within 30 days.


No physical documentation or collateral is required, neither do you need a physical visit to the bank to access both loans. Imagine the confidence that comes with sorting out your bills within minutes and without having to wait till month end.


Salary accounts should do more than receiving your monthly pay from your employer. It should be instrumental in making your day-to-day living easier, and this is what having your salary account with FirstBank can achieve for you. You can get a Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) if you have a a longer-term project at hand or investments to make. It may be paying school fees for your kids, acquiring assets or renovating your properties, paying rent, taking professional examinations.


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Truly, it is always “YOU FIRST” from FirstBank.

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UBA Group Dominates the 2021 Banker Awards, Wins ‘African Bank of the Year’




Breaks the Banker Magazine Record as it wins Best Bank in Nigeria and 12 of Its Subsidiaries Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc yet again, reaffirms its leadership position across Africa, as the bank has been globally recognised as the African Bank of the year 2021 by the Banker Magazine, a leading global finance news publication published by the Financial Times of London.


UBA’s solid financial performance, its excellent service delivery to customers and its continuous role of facilitating rapid economic growth across the African continent were some of the reasons that led to the bank being named best bank in 12 of its African subsidiaries and in Nigeria. UBA Nigeria Plc, UBA Benin, UBA Burkina Faso, UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Congo Brazzaville, UBA Cote D’Ivoire, UBA Gabon, UBA Guinea, UBA Liberia, UBA Senegal, UBA Sierra Leone and UBA Zambia all came out top as the best banks in their respective countries.


This will not be a first for UBA. In 2020, six of its subsidiaries in Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia were winners of the Best Bank award. This year, the UBA Group is breaking a record with its exceptional wins as African Bank of the Year and Bank of the year in 13 countries. The total 14 awards makes it the first time ever in the history of the almost 100 years of The banker, that any banking group will be clinching as many as 14 wins in a single year.

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At the Virtual award ceremony which was held on December 1st 2021, the Middle East and Africa Editor for The Banker, John Everington, explained at the event that a rigorous and highly analytical process is made annually to reach the decision for each Bank of the Year award and the institution’s reputation for independence, authority and integrity is thoroughly applied to each submission.


“While several African banks impressed the judges this year, there was no doubt as to the worthiest recipient of the Bank of the Year for Africa – UBA Group – a clear winner across a wide range of criteria. UBA has performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets,” Everington said.


UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, who expressed delight over the recognition from The Banker stated “Like I always say, at UBA, we must be doing something right. Winning 14 total awards in13 subsidiaries and the Bank of the Year on the African continent is a big achievement.’


Continuing, Uzoka said, “The recognitions come as a reassurance that we are on track in consolidating our leadership position in Africa, as we continue to create superior value for all our stakeholders. We have our millions of customers across the globe and our many thousands of staff to thank for this. They are the very reason why we keep winning’


Since1926, the Bank of the Year awards has been celebrating the best of global banking and is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence. The 2021 edition highlights those institutions that have outshone their peers in terms of performance, strategic initiatives and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Banker Magazine is a publication of the Financial Times – a leading global finance news publication which has been in existence since 1888. The Banker magazine is the definitive reference in international banking for high level decision makers.


United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries.


With presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services

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Crisis Rocks Ghana Parliament As Members Clash Over 2022 budget




The 2022 budget of Ghana suffered another set back as the House could not reach concerts on its passage.


The Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori Atta had presented the budget for the House to deliberate upon and possibly approve it for passage to the president to work with. But the House is in disagreement.


The Majority members had earlier hoped in easy passage but, they were shocked to witness a tie in the House. The ruling Party, New Patriotic Party ( NPP) has 137 members in the House, same to the main opposition party, The New Democratic Congress(NDC)


The Speaker who could have added one to the ruling NPP lacks the constitutional right, as the Constitution denies him voting right as the presiding officer.


The case will then be taken to the Supreme Court for intervention. The issue has been a major challenge threatening the smooth democracy in the country. The decision to go to Supreme Court is expected to be taken before or by Friday sitting.


By Moses Owopade,

Accra, Ghana.

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