First News newspaper has announced the winner of its prestigious Man of Year Award for 2022.
The indefatigable Chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, Brig-Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) is the winner of the award for the year 2022.
According to a statement by the management of First Media Network Limited, publishers of First News newspaper (Online and hard copy), Marwa got the award after a painstaking selection process by its Board of Editors, which x-rayed the NDLEA boss’ achievements in the past two years since he assumed office.
The statement reads, “We’re pleased to announce General Mohammed Buba Marwa as the winner of this year’s First News Man of the Year Award. The anti-Narcotic Czar emerged the winner of the coveted award after a rigorous process of vetting by our esteemed team of judges made up of the members of our Board of Editors.
“Having been found worthy of the First News Man of the Year Award for 2022, this legendary performer in public office, has joined the list of distinguished Nigerians like the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Duoye Diri, our credible medium has honoured. Governor Diri won the First News Man of the Year Award for 2021. While being conferred with the award in his office in Yenagoa, the state capital, by the Management of First News Media Network led by the Chairman/Publisher, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Bayelsa Governor described it (award) as the best of such laurels he had received since the inception of his administration in the state.
“Marwa’s noble achievements in the fight against drug barons and the use of these dangerous and harmful substances speak volumes and stand him out as an enigma in his service to rid Nigeria of hard drug trade and consumption, as well as save innocent citizens and society in general the harmful effects of drug use, especially by the vulnerable youth population.
“It’s needless to mention here that although the anti-Narcotic Czar, who has become a nightmare to drug barons and mulls in Nigeria and beyond, already has several laurels in his kitty for his monumental successes in the anti-drug war, the First News Man of the Year Award underscores Marwa’s special place in the pantheon of anti-Narcotic warlords who have successfully battled the almighty hard drug traders peddling death and misery across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. His extraordinarily positive impact on our country and the society has made the NDLEA one of the few government agencies Nigerians are proud of.
“Marwa deserves even more, particularly when his intelligence-driven strategies, audacious efforts, strides and outstanding performance, coupled with his leadership acumen, are viewed against the backdrop of the fact that in the last two years he has repositioned a government agency that had long been in a coma and even breathed adequate life into it to make it act as vigorously as it does now in tackling drug barons and couriers, and bringing many of them to justice.
“In September 2022, the NDLEA under Marwa’s dynamic leadership recorded the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of the Agency.
“His diligence, resilience and doggedness in the drug war have continued to attract the attention of even the international community, a larger chunk of which had categorised Nigeria a pariah nation before the appointment of Marwa as the NDLEA boss. His high level of innovation in the fight against drug barons and couriers is responsible for the significant strides recorded by the NDLEA in the last two years, and that has also placed the NDLEA on a higher pedestal.
“It’s on record that the Offensive Action Operation Marwa launched a few days after his appointment as the NDLEA chairman has resulted in the arrest of more than 18,940 narcotic offenders, conviction of about 2,904 and seizure of 3.6m kg of drugs between January 2021 and July 2022.
“It is gratifying to note that within the first 17 months of his leadership at the NDLEA, the Agency arrested about 18,000 drug offenders, including 10 notorious barons in different parts of the country. Also, more than 2,369 of these drug offenders were convicted and sentenced to various jail terms while over 11,000 drug users were counseled and rehabilitated within the same period. This laudable performance is highly commendable.
“Marwa’s multi-dimensional and holistic approach go a long way in mitigating the harmful effects of drug consumption. His innovative collaboration with Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry, in the anti-narcotic war has been succeeding in sensitising millions of Nigerian youths, who watch indigenous movies, on the dangers of drug abuse. Last year, the Agency premiered two great movies on the occasion of the 2022 United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in aid of its anti-Narcotic crusade. The effects of this innovation have been salutary.
“There’s no doubt that the NDLEA is today blazing the trail in drug law enforcement due to the potency of the innovative approach adopted by Marwa.
“No wonder the service delivery record and responsiveness of the NDLEA in the last two years have made the agency the envy of many other government agencies in the country and beyond.
“Marwa has continued to draw applause from Nigerians and the entire world for his reforms, dynamic leadership and transformation of the NDLEA.
“Certainly, Marwa is rewriting history by his legendary performance as the chairman of NDLEA and Nigeria is gradually winning the war against illicit and dangerous drug trade and consumption.”
The statement added that the award will be conferred on the NDLEA boss at a date to be announced soon.