There is bad news for drug barons in Nigeria and also those who carelessly mix up with drug traffickers or allow their property to be used for storage of and sales point for illicit drugs. In the renewed war against narcotic drugs, the NDLEA now focuses on the forfeiture of assets belonging to anyone connected with the illicit drug trade and trafficking.
The Agency now targets assets of arrested and fleeing suspects using the forfeiture power granted by Section 34 of the NDLEA Act which defines forfeiture to includes domestic and foreign assets, cash and property.
Similarly, the Agency utilises Section 15 of the Money Laundering Provisions Act 2015, which empowers it to conduct money-laundering investigations that are related to the process of drug trafficking and subsequently confiscate assets of offenders, if found guilty. Once it is successfully proven that a suspect (standing trial or being investigated) is connected to drug trafficking, the Agency confiscates his assets.
Similarly, NDLEA uses Section 21 and 22 of the Money Laundering Act to legally request for scrutiny copies of financial statements of any suspected traffickers. Banks are obliged to comply. Once banks hand over such documents, transactions into and out of the account are subject to investigation. Where necessary, the Agency will go after the names linked to the account.
For drug traffickers, barons and their enablers, here is where NDLEA holds the ace: Even after a suspect is convicted for drug trafficking or drug dealing, he is still going to face another charge, money laundering offence, or terrorism financing if the ground is properly.
Upon conviction, such an individual runs the risk of forfeiting his entire assets, whether movable or immovable, or monetary. The goal is to ensure that after serving his sentence, he will have nothing to fall on.
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