Stop parading drug suspects, build rehabilitation centres – HURIWA to NDLEA

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to erect rehabilitation centres across the country and stop its tradition of parading suspects.

HURIWA made the call in a recent visit to the Abuja office of the nation’s anti-hard drugs trafficking agency, where it lauded the call for rehabilitation of drug addicts in Nigeria.

Addressing the top management team of the NDLEA in Abuja including its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer Brigadier- General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), HURIWA asked the agency to stop media trials of accused persons.

HURIWA pointed out that the media trial of suspects offends section 36 (5) of the Constitution, adding that the agency should rather pay more attention to prosecution and actual convictions.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, who led the delegation of Activists, also lauded the current leadership of NDLEA for bringing renewed vigour, energy and enthusiasm to wage aggressive war against hard drugs trafficking which the group believes is paying off with the large number of arrests made so far.

HURIWA, however, stressed that actual convictions are far better than celebrating mere arrests.

The human rights advocacy group argued that parading suspects before the media have now lost value because rather than deter would-be offenders, the media trials have ironically glamourised drug trafficking going by the exponential increase in the number of arrests made by NDLEA daily in spite of the persistent parading of arrested suspects in the media.

The group further asked the NDLEA to open up the process of burning seized exhibits to the media and credible members of the organised Civil society bodies so Nigerians would be assured that confiscated hard drugs do not end up been stolen by NDLEA officers and resold on the streets.

HURIWA called on the National Assembly to grant funding and operational autonomy to the NDLEA given the nature of their tasks and mostly because drug addictions are the major causes of sophisticated crimes and terror-related violence in the Country.

Responding, the Chairman of NDLEA who spoke very briefly defended his organization’s law enforcement mechanisms and stressed that the Human Rights of arrested suspects are always defended and promoted by his officers since he assumed office.

He commended HURIWA for doing a great job of social enlightenment and called on the organization to support the government.