National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), delegates from 54 African countries and 15 observer nations will next week, discuss drug trade, assets forfeiture, money laundering and cryptocurrency in Abuja.
The NDLEA chairman, Brig. Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.) said top on the agenda of the 31st meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF) will be to discuss new trends and partnerships to curb the global drug scourge.
The meeting will also discuss collaborations on alternative development to cannabis cultivation, assets forfeiture, cryptocurrency and money laundering by drug cartels, among others.
At a joint press briefing between the NDLEA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, in Abuja yesterday, the NDLEA chairman, represented by the secretary to the NDLEA, Shadrach Haruna said the 31st meeting of HONLAF, a subsidiary body of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNCND) is to enable heads of drug law enforcement agencies in Africa to discuss and develop strategies to combat drug trafficking and abuse in the region.
According to him, “The HONLAF meeting is an annual event. The last one was held in Nairobi, Kenya, where Nigeria was unanimously elected as the host of the 31st edition, which will take place from Tuesday, September 26 to Friday, September 29, 2023 in Abuja.
“This annual HONLAF meeting features a line-up of activities that include technical meetings, paper presentations, deliberations on reports and trends, workshops, and bilateral talks among member nations. It is a platform for brokering collaborations in the areas of shared intelligence, joint training, and joint operations against international drug cartels in the African region.
“This year, Nigeria has the honour of being the chair and host of the meeting. So, it means delegates from 53 other African countries will converge on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Monday, and for the rest of the week, they will be guests of NDLEA and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Aside from delegates from African countries, there will be representatives from observer bodies and other non-African countries who will be attending to watch the proceedings”.
Also, the country representative of the UNODC, Oliver Stolpe said the HONLAF meeting will also focus on “regional and national cooperation to reduce illicit production and cultivation of illicit drugs, something that has been observed, thanks to the operational success of NDLEA over the years in Nigeria not only for the destruction of cannabis farms but also the manufacturing of other drugs like methamphetamine.”
He said, “There will also be discussion on alternative development, an approach promoted by many countries; financial investigation in drug trafficking cases and the role of cryptocurrency in drug trafficking cases, and money laundering. It’s safe to say NDLEA has made great strides to confiscate the money and proceeds of drug crime. We’ll also look at how to follow the money and seize the immense riches accumulated in the drug trade.”