Mohammed Buba Marwa (born 9 September 1953) is a retired army officer who retired from the Nigerian army with the rank of a brigadier general and currently serves as Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) since his appointment in January 2021. He previously served as Governor of Lagos State from 1996 to 1999 during the military regime of Generals Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar, who were former heads of state.
Mohammed Buba Marwa Biography
Mohammed Buba Marwa
9 September 1953
All Progressives Congress
Nigerian Defence Academy
Early Life and Education
Buba Marwa was born on September 9, 1953, to a military family in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, where both his father, Buba Marwa, and grandfather, Buba Yola, had served in the Nigerian Army, and he also decided to stay on that career path.
Between 1960 and 1965, he attended primary school across several states in Nigeria, including Enugu, Zaria, Abeokuta, and Lagos. He then enrolled at the Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria (1966–1970). He then finished the normal combatant course at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), and in June 1973, he was commissioned into the Nigeria Army Recce Corps (NARC).
General Marwa holds a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh (1983–1985) and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University (1985-86). He also holds credentials in project planning and evaluation (PPE), leadership and organizational innovation, and international security studies.
Prior to joining the Armoured Corps, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Nigerian Army Reconnaissance Corps. Brigade Major (23 Armoured Brigade), Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma, Chief of Army Staff, Academic Registrar of the Nigerian Defense Academy, and Deputy Defense Advisor at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC are just a few of the positions he held in the army. He was chosen to lead Borno State as governor in 1990. He was appointed the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the UN’s defence adviser in 1992.
He attended several pieces of training in Nigeria and abroad, such as the Communication Instructors course at the School of Armour in Nowshera, Pakistan; the Regimental Signal Officers (RSO) course, Nigerian Army Signals School, Apapa, RSO (All Arms), Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow, India; the Armour Officer Basic Course, Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA; the Advanced Armour Officers Course in the Armoured Corps Centre and School, Ahmadnagar, India; the Junior and Senior Staff College courses at Command and Staff College (CSC), Jaji.
He has served as deputy defence adviser in the Nigerian embassy in Washington, DC, among other command and staff positions in the Nigerian Army. He is largely famous for his expertise in public administration. From June 1990 until 1992, he served as military governor of the former Borno State, which is now comprised of the states of Borno and Yobe. His administration had a significant impact on the populace in a number of areas, including agriculture, health care delivery, and education. Marwa established the first Ministry of Water Resources, and the state built the Maiduguri International Hotel by employing direct labour.
Gen. Marwa was appointed as the governor of Borno State at the same time that Idriss Deby, a former rebel, overthrew President Hisen Habre, driving out Chadian Army soldiers from the country which shares a border with Borno State, some of whom turned rogue and conducted incursions into Borno State. The pillaging of towns, villages, and communities by the marauders was comparable to that of Boko Haram. He was appointed to the position of Registrar at the Nigerian Defense Academy in 1992. And in 1993, he went back to doing international work as the defence attaché at the Nigerian mission to the UN in New York.
He was chosen to serve as Lagos State’s Military Administrator in August 1996. Strategic programs accompanied his three-year stay in the state. The achievements were made possible by a strict N14 billion budget. Marwa transferred N2 billion in cash, the greatest sum ever transferred from one state administration to another, while never borrowing from a bank throughout his time in office.
Nigeria’s oldest and most prestigious weekly publication, Newswatch, named him “Nigeria’s Man of the Year 1997” for his outstanding leadership.
Governor of Lagos State
Marwa served as Lagos State’s military governor from 1996 to 1999. Programs like “Operation 250 Roads,” which he undertook during his government, significantly improved driving conditions. He remodelled public health facilities and made sure that everyone could receive free malaria treatment. In underprivileged areas, his administration upgraded the infrastructure. He issued a decree to control rents, put an end to the “Jankara” method of evicting tenants, and made sure that the law was followed. He rose to prominence in Lagos as a result of “Operation Sweep,” a joint police and military initiative that helped lower the city’s infamously high crime rate.
Buba Marwa said on Nigerian state radio and television in February 1998 that unidentified assailants were attempting to kill him once more and that he and his entourage had been the target of many bomb assaults beginning in 1996. He declared that he wouldn’t be scared off. In an effort to address fuel shortages and shorten recurring lines at gas stations, Mohammed Buba Marwa implemented fuel restrictions in Lagos State in May 1998. The biggest asphalt plant in Nigeria was officially inaugurated by Marwa in Lagos in July 1998.
Brigadier General Marwa established Albarka Airlines and the Buba Marwa Endowment after leaving the Nigerian army at the conclusion of his tenure as governor of Lagos State. Buba Marwa resigned as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Albarka Airlines in September 2003. Albarka Airlines’ operating permits were controversially revoked by the Nigerian government in May 2007, allegedly for political motives.
Marwa declared in December 2006 that he would enter the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary to represent the party. After failing to win, he supported Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who later won the presidency.
He was named the High Commissioner of Nigeria to the Republic of South Africa in 2007. Marwa ran as the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate for governor in his home state of Adamawa in 2011 against Murtala Nyako, who was in office at the time. As a result of complaints from his supporters about unfair treatment when his party, the CPC, amalgamated with the ANPP and the ACN in response to Governor Nyako’s defection to the same party. After President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on May 29, 2015, Marwa and his supporters rejoined the APC in June of the same year.
He currently serves as Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) since his appointment in January 2021. Since his appointment, the agency is noted to have done tremendously well in curbing the free flow of drug trafficking and the abuse of drugs in Nigeria.
Baba Marwa was married to Zainab Marwa, an advocate for the advancement of women and the girl-child, a native of Imo State, who died on January 8, 2022, at the age of 66. The marriage is blessed with four children: Abubakar, Mohamed, Mariam, and Zainab; and 10 grandchildren.
Awards and Honours
- 2003―Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)
Nigerian Armed Forces Honour
- 1998―Distinguished Service Star (DSS)
- Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi
- Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)
- Doctor of Management Technology (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Technology, Owerri
- 2003 Outstanding Leadership Award by the Centre For Multicultural Leadership University of Kansas, Lawrence. First African honoured by the Institute in its ten years of inaugurating the award.
- Reciprocating, General Marwa endowed an annual “Marwa Africana Lecture Series” in the Department of African and Afro- American Studies. The late Prof Ali Mazrui presented the inaugural lecture.
Marwa is a fellow of many prestigious institutes, including:
● Institute of Aviation Management (FIAM)
● Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration of Nigeria (FCILGPA)
● Fellow: Chemical Society of Nigeria (FCSN)
● Fellow: Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (FInstTA)
● Fellow: Nigerian Institute of Marketing (FNMA)
● Fellow: Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, London (FCILT)
- The Gold Merit Award from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
- The Grand Patron of the Nigerian Youth Association and also the Nigeria Maltese Business Council
- Zik Award for Political Leadership, the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award (Ghana)
- Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Memorial Foundation’s Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award
- Millenium Award by Youths Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON)
- National Distinguished Merit Award in Transportation from the Centre for Transport Studies, among others.
- Diversity Speaker at the College of Business Studies, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, and winner of the First WOTCLEF Merit Award, is Patron of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ, Oyo State Council)
- Grand Patron of the All Africa Students’ Union (AASU).
He has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
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