By Ndey Sowe
Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria have signed an operational Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, 4th August, 2021 in a bid to strengthen the prohibition of drugs in the sub-region.
In 2017, DLEAG initiated a discussion with NDLEA of Nigeria in pursuit of partnership with anti-narcotic agencies around the world, aimed at strengthening international cooperation as advocated by the UN Drug Conventions.
The colorful signing ceremony was held at a local hotel in Bijilo.
“Indeed, I present this speech with absolute hope that our cooperation will reinforce our collective efforts in drug interdiction in the sub-region,” said Bakary Gassama, Director General of DLEAG.
Gassama said the signing ceremony was a clear manifestation of their commitment as state parties to the three UN Drug Conventions.
He disclosed that DLEAG has found NDLEA as a strategic partner, not only owing to the huge experience at their disposal in drug interdiction, but also based on their long-standing bilateral relation, which provides The Gambia with massive opportunities and benefits.
“The implementation of this MOU will certainly deliver greater and model law enforcement cooperation in the region. I am convinced that our partnership with NDLEA will be a realistic step contributing meaningfully to the efforts geared towards tackling the world drug problem,” Gassama remarked.
Buba Marwa Mohammed, Chairman and CEO NDLEA of Nigeria, said the MOU is designed collectively to combat the manufacturing, production and trafficking of illicit drugs between the two countries and in the sub-region.
“Drug trafficking is internationally in scope which makes collaboration key to its successful interdiction as part of the affirmation and commitment in 2019 by our ministers at the 62nd session of the Commission on narcotic Drugs in Austria to have a balance integrated and comprehensive approach to the world drug problem based on the principle of common and shared responsibility,” Mohammed added.
Yankuba JN Sonko, Minister of Interior, said fighting crime is noble, but fighting drug related crime is honorable and selfless. Thus, he said one of the most rewarding jobs any citizen can undertake is fighting drug related crime.
“The Gambia and Nigeria are among the countries that created a single mission agency purposely to fight against drugs,” he said.
Sonko said the MOU will serve the shared and common interest of the two states on matters relating to drug trafficking and abuse. He also said the ceremony is another milestone in their quest to build a stronger and more reinforced regime of cooperation against international drug trafficking.