Full Meaning and Functions of NDLEA

NDLEA means National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, which is responsible for arresting, investigating, and prosecuting drug traffickers in Nigeria.

Decree No. 48 of 1989 was issued mostly in response to the increasing trend in the consumption and trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances, which harmed Nigerians’ and Nigeria’s global reputation in the 1980s. Since then, illicit drug trafficking has evolved into an organized criminal enterprise that jeopardizes the country’s security and growth, necessitating the government’s immediate attention and priority.

What is the full meaning of NDLEA?

NDLEA stands for National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. In Nigeria, the NDLEA is in charge of drug policy and control. The agency is responsible for preventing the illegal production, importation, exportation, distribution, and trafficking of psychoactive drugs.

Employees of the NDLEA are responsible for the interception and destruction of narcotic drugs and other illegal substances. They also engage in drug misuse prevention initiatives such as advocacy and counseling and drug user rehabilitation.

Thousands of NDLEA expert narcotics detectives and well-trained ancillary staff work across Nigeria to execute the Agency’s mandate, with a noticeable presence at international airports, seaports, border crossings, and key highways.

Committed to protecting society from the risks of illicit narcotics and their purveyors, NDLEA agents are fully engaged in the tracking, arrest, and confiscating of hazardous substance traffickers under Nigeria’s many relevant drug laws.

When was NDLEA Established?

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was founded the 29 December 1989 under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. The establishment was done through the proclamation of decree No. 48, which is now an act of parliament, with the primary goal of eliminating illicit drug trafficking and usage in Nigerian society.

The NDLEA is divided into 14 directorates, 14 zonal commands, 111 city area commands, and 10 Special (airports and seaports) commands. They have a presence in all of the country’s airports, seaports, border posts, and critical places throughout the country’s road networks.

The Agency goes with the vision of becoming Africa’s most effective and pioneering drug law enforcement agency, as well as one of the best in the world, and to contribute to the formation and management of Nigeria’s positive view. On its establishment, NDLEA adopted a mission of employing all necessary resources to fully eradicate narcotic drugs and other psychotropic substances in the country.

They focus their achievement of this mission by targeting and cutting off all the supply chains of illicit drugs in the country. They have adopted several orientation strategies toward creating proper awareness of the effect of these illegal drugs and substances. Thereby reducing the flow of its demand in the country.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officers of NDLEA from its Establishment To Date

The highest-ranking and commanding officer of the NDLEA is known as a Chairman or Chief Executive Officer. Below are the Chairman or Chief Executive Officers of the agency from 1989 to date:

  • DIG Fidelis Oyakhilome, mni, served from 12 January 1990 to 10 March 1991
  • CP Fulani Kwajafa (Rtd) served from 10 March 1991 to 25 October 1993
  • AIG Ba’ppa Jama’re, mni, served from 15 October 1993 to 13 February 1994
  • Maj. Gen. Musa Bamaiyi, mni, served from 26 April 1994 to 23 December 1998
  • AIG. Ogbonnaya Onovo served the agency from 23 December 1998 to 3 May 2000
  • AIG. IIiya Lokadang, mni served from 3 May 2000 to 4 September 2000
  • Bello Yusuf Lafiaji, OON, OFR, served from 10 October 2000 to 24 November 2005
  • CP Ahmed Glade (Rtd) served from 24 November 2005 to 22 November 2015
  • Col. Muhammed M. Abdallah (Rtd) served from 11 January 2016 to 15 January 2021
  • Brig Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd) has been the agency’s Chairman and Chief executive officer from 15 January 2021 to date.
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What are the Functions of NDLEA?

Having gone through the necessary information about NDLEA, its establishment, and all of its past chairman and chief executive officers from inception to date, we now go through the agency’s functions and everything surrounding its operations and duties in Nigeria. Here are some of the functions of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria:

1. Enforcement of Drug and other Psychotic substances Laws in Nigeria

The NDLEA has been tasked with enforcing drug regulations that everyone must follow; anyone found guilty of drug trafficking will also face severe penalties under the law. However, other authorities outside the NDLEA prosecute drug laws; as a result, the NDLEA collaborates with these agencies to combat drug trafficking in Nigeria.

2. Tracking down Drug Traffickers

The NDLEA operates at airports and other border crossing locations to check for and investigate cases of drug trafficking by people entering and leaving the country. The agency collaborates with other international drug agencies to combat the drug trade.

International drug organizations also contribute crucial information during narcotics trafficking investigations. They also make preventative efforts to combat the illegal trafficking of hard substances like marijuana, cocaine, and opioids in Nigeria.

3. The Agency Investigates Financial Proceeds Made From Drug Business

The NDLEA not only pursues drug traffickers but also investigates their financial transactions. The proceeds from the sale of illegal substances are seized, and the perpetrators face legal consequences.

4. The Agency Aids Drug Research in the Country

One of the NDLEA’s most notable responsibilities is drug research. The NDLEA, in partnership with other foreign agencies, plays a significant role in drug research in Nigeria. With scientific technology and resources at their disposal, they help identify the majority of these drugs, such as stimulants and hallucinogens, and comprehend the consequences of these drugs on Nigerians’ health and social lives.

5. The Employe Awareness Strategies to Educate the Public

The organization also uses different tools to raise public awareness about the hazards of drug trafficking and its implications for human health. One of the tools they use is awareness programs to educate young people about the dangers of using hard drugs and substances. More emphasis is placed on the psychological and physiological impacts of these harsh substances on the body.

6. Punishment of Illegal Drug Traffickers in Nigeria

Those found guilty of transporting drugs or growing narcotics in Nigeria are arrested and prosecuted. They impose penalties on individuals caught in the act, as this is one of the agency’s most essential functions in Nigeria. In most cases, the agency target the organization that coordinates this drug trafficking and ensures they face legal actions.


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