The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said no fewer than 35 officers of its Marine Command and Seaports Operations are undergoing training by the United Kingdom Home Office International Operations, HOIO.
The agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.
According to Babafemi, five of the 35 officers are undergoing two-week Maritime Patrol and Tactical Coxswain training by the United Kingdom’s Central Maritime Training Unit based in Southampton.
The HOIO is also providing the officers with specialised training, mentoring and advanced drug detection equipment to enhance border control and capabilities of the NDLEA.
The training, which includes NDLEA’s first female coxswain, will enable the officers to plan maritime deployments, pursue, stop and board vessels on the high seas.
Babafemi said key areas being covered in the training include boat handling, weapons handling, riverine operations, boarding and vessel search, among many others.
Parts of the training are also being facilitated by the British Military, Nigerian Navy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP).
While commending the efforts of the UK government for its continued support and commitment towards helping the Agency, enhance its capacity and capabilities to tackle drug trafficking, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged the officers to remain steadfast in their professional calling and ensure they bring to bear the essence of the training on their formations and colleagues. Marwa assured the UK government that he(Marwa) will continue to prioritise training and retraining for all officers, men and women of the Agency.
The Home Office International Operations Regional Manager for West Africa, Kris Hawksfield in his remark during his visit to the team undergoing training in Southampton stated that HOIO was immensely proud and honoured to work with and support the work of the Agency.
Hawksfield added that the UK will remain committed to strengthening the mutually beneficial work of the Agency to interdict, seize and destroy illicit substances and drugs which would otherwise harm Nigeria and the UK.