Pubdate: Sun, 16 Jun 2013
Source: Guardian, The (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2013 The Guardian Newspapers Limited
Author: Bertram Nwannekanma


THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the weekend 
lamented the inability of Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry to 
comply with the provisions of Section 45 of its Act, a development, 
which it said has resulted in non-accurate statistics of Nigerians in 
jail abroad for drug related offences.

Section 45 of the NDLEA Act mandates all Heads of Nigerian Diplomatic 
Missions abroad to furnish NDLEA with the statistics of Nigerians in 
jail abroad for drug related offences every six months.

NDLEA through its Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Femi 
Oloruntoba said the Foreign Affairs Ministry's failure to ensure 
compliance with the provisions of the law, has hampered the agency 
from gathering accurate statistics.

Oloruntoba stated this in Lagos at a workshop organised by the 
National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC).

The workshop was with the theme: "Government Agencies and Enabling 
Laws: Review & Overview."

Oloruntoba, who was represented by Yohanna Mshelia, an Assistant 
Director with the NDLEA, also accused some foreign countries of 
failing to co-operate with NDLEA in that regard.

According to him: "Lack of co-operation from some foreign countries 
particularly the Western World is also a major concern. These 
countries refuse to provide relevant information relating to 
Nigerians involved in drug trafficking in their countries on the 
grounds that double jeopardy exists in Nigeria - Decree 33 of 1990."

Besides, Oloruntoba pointed out that the absence of drug enforcement 
officers in Nigerian Missions abroad also constitutes a major factor 
in the non-accurate statistics of Nigerians in foreign prisons.

According to the current statistics available to NDLEA, over 600 
Nigerians were arrested in Thailand in 2002 for drug related 
offences, out of which 521 were transferred to Nigeria between 2003 and 2008.

Russia arrested about 229 Nigerians in 2001 and none has been 
transferred to Nigeria, while between 2003 and 2004, Indonesia 
arrested 40 Nigerians out of which none has been transferred to Nigeria.

In 2004, 25 Nigerians were arrested for drug related offences in 
Italy and none of these Nigerians has been transferred back to the country.

Oloruntoba added that in Pakistan, only statistics of Karachi Prison 
was available, and the said statistics revealed that 226 Nigerians 
were arrested for drug related offences in 2006.

According to him: "A better statistics may be available with the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At present, what the agency has are 
figures obtained when on visit to the relevant countries."
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