Functions of NDLEA in Nigeria

Functions of NDLEA in Nigeria

Find out interesting facts about the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria! Who is the current NDLEA Chairman? What are the main functions of NDLEA? All the answers and even more are in the article.

NDLEA in Nigeria

Why are drugs are so widespread here in Nigeria?

Unfortunately, nowadays Nigeria is regarded as the heart of African drugs trafficking. The poly-crime institutions of Nigeria keep expanding their contribution in drugs trafficking all around the world. The trafficking organizations of Nigeria usually monitor the Sub-Saharan African drug markets, and they also manage drug spread systems from strategic positions all over the world.

Nigerians are responsible for the trafficking of a great amount of heroin used in the US. Also, they contraband the cocaine from South America to Europe and Africa, especially to the Southern Africa. What is more, they traffic such drugs as marijuana or cannabis (the only one drug that is farmed in Nigeria) abroad.

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NDLEA at cannabis farm
NDLEA officers at cannabis farm

As for the transborder drug trafficking, it is hardly participated by Nigerians. According to one of the investigations, it was pointed out that 65% of the heroin (it's about 50 g. or even more) confiscated in British airports came from Nigeria. Also, it was the transportation station for 20% of all the heroin from Southwest Asia.

Another investigation detected that 20% of cases with hard drugs in Britain engaged vessels of the Nigerian National Shipping Line. What is more shocking, is that by the late 1980s, Nigerians arrested daily in foreign countries for drug trafficking.

Functions of NDLEA in Nigeria

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What is NDLEA?

Actually, NDLEA is an abbreviation for The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. It is a Federal Agency in Nigeria that is empowered to eliminate the growing, manufacturing, processing, trafficking, selling, and exporting of hard drugs. This agency was instituted by Decree #48 of January 1990. Usually, NDLEA should be present in transborder seaports, airports, and border crossing points.

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Its main aim is to completely destroy the cannabis by extirpating the plants. Also, they try to catch the leaders of drugs and money laundering gangs. The main office of NDLEA is located in Ikoyi, Lagos.


It’s not a surprise that counter-narcotics projects of the Nigerian Government have been unsuccessful and ineffective. The NDLEA's efforts have been interfered with by the wide-spread corruption in enforcement and with the deficiency of the clear policy control and independent government maintenance. Of course, the counter-narcotics legal system has been approved, but has not made any prosecution and condemnation of drug trafficking leaders.

Also, Babangida canceled the death penalty for condemned drug dealers. By the end of the decade, there were many calls by the people to renew it again. At Lagos International Airport, in 1989, stringent safety measures were created to restrain a crime wave there and to monitor the activities of the black market.

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NDLEA in Nigeria

The NDLEA is always present at the international airports and is always ready to confiscate the heroin and arrest drug dealers. Also, it holds attacks raids at transborder seaports and border crossing points.

However, despite the NDLEA’s counter-narcotic efforts, more and more drugs are run through the sea and overland borders of Nigeria. These overland borders are badly patrolled, and the special law enforcement agencies are filled with corrupted officials. The ports of Nigeria are also badly controlled and suffer from corruption.

NDLEA fights with drugs

Even though the efforts of the NDLEA have led to dangerous scenarios for dealers to be caught at the airport, traffickers still continue to use express mail and air cargo services. The trafficking communities in Nigeria rely more and more on bulk shipments by sea and land to traffic drugs in and out of the land.

NDLEA Chairmen

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency usually consists of:

- the Chairman;

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- the representative of the Nigeria Police Force;

- the Director, Military Intelligence;

- the Director of Customs and Excise;

- the Director, State Security Service;

- the representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice;

- the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency;

- the representative each of the Ministries of External Affairs, and Health;

- three other persons.

The current Chairman of the NDLEA (also known as the Chief Executive Officer) is Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah. He was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari. He took over from Ahmadu Giade who finished his tenure in office on November 24, 2015.

What are the functions of NDLEA in Nigeria?

NDLEA wants to destroy the drugs trafficking

#1. The first function of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency is to use all the resources at its disposal for the absolute extirpation of all illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In other words, the reduction of illegal drugs and other substances on demand.

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#2. They usually have the mandate agreement to recover all ill-gotten wealth, acquired from proceeds of illegal drug trading.

#3. The third function is to defend, strengthen, and maintain the image of Nigeria and Nigerian people both at home and abroad.

#4. The last and the main function of NDLEA is to make the arrests where necessary and convey such drug dealer over to the police.

Now you know more about such an important Federal Agency as NDLEA. As you see it plays a great role in the war on drugs in Nigeria. Unfortunately, we still face drug trafficking, but it’s not because of the bad performance of such organisations as NDLEA.

As you can see, the organisation tries to fight drug dealers every day and everywhere. The main obstacle that remains on the way to the victory in this war is corruption. Everything depends on the people. When we need something, we will get it. It’s just a matter of time. So, if you want to change something, you should start from yourself!

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