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Mohammed Buba Marwa Biography: Education, Career, and Awards

Mohammed Buba Marwa

Mohammed Buba Marwa, a retired army commander who left the Nigerian army with the rank of brigadier general, was appointed as the head of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in January 2021. He was born on September 9, 1953. Previously, from 1996 to 1999, he presided over Lagos State as governor under the military rule of former chiefs of state Generals Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Early Life and Education

In Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, where both his father, Buba Marwa, and grandfather, Buba Yola, had served in the Nigerian Army, Buba Marwa was born on September 9, 1953. He also chose to continue in that line of work.

He attended primary school between 1960 and 1965 in a number of Nigerian states, including Lagos, Enugu, Zaria, and Abeokuta. The Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria, was where he subsequently attended (1966–1970). Following completion of the NDA’s regular combatant school, he was commissioned into the Nigeria Army Recce Corps in June 1973. (NARC).

Both a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University and a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh were earned by General Marwa between 1983 and 1985. (1985-86). Additionally, he has training in leadership and organizational innovation, international security studies, and project planning and evaluation (PPE).


Military Career

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Nigerian Army Reconnaissance Corps before joining the Armoured Corps. He served in the army in a variety of capacities, including 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. In 1990, he was appointed governor of Borno State. In 1992, he was chosen to serve as the defense advisor for Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

His training included the Regimental Signal Officers (RSO) course at the Nigerian Army Signals School in Apapa, the RSO (All Arms) course at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering in Mhow, India, the Armour Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Advanced Armour Officers Course at the Armoured Corps Centre and School in Ahmadnagar, India, and the School of Armor’s Communication Instructors course in Nowshera, Pakistan.

Public Administration

Among other command and staff roles in the Nigerian Army, he has held the position of deputy defense adviser in the Nigerian embassy in Washington, DC. He is primarily well-known for his knowledge of public administration. He was the military governor of the former Borno State, which is now made up of the states of Borno and Yobe, from June 1990 until 1992. Agriculture, health care, and education were just a few of the areas where his government had a big effect on the public. The first Ministry of Water Resources was founded by Marwa, and the Maiduguri International Hotel was constructed by the state using direct labor.

When Idriss Deby, a former rebel, deposed President Hisen Habre, displacing Chadian Army soldiers from the nation that borders Borno State, some of whom went rogue and launched incursions into Borno State, Gen. Marwa was named governor of Borno State. The marauders’ plundering of towns, villages, and communities was comparable to Boko Haram’s. In 1992, he was given the job of Registrar at the Nigerian Defense Academy. As the defense attaché at the Nigerian mission to the UN in New York, he returned to working internationally in 1993.

In August 1996, he was selected to be Lagos State’s military administrator. His three-year term in the state was accompanied by strategic plans. A rigorous N14 billion budget allowed for the accomplishments. Marwa never took a loan from a bank throughout his tenure in government and instead transferred N2 billion in cash, the largest amount ever transferred from one state administration to another.

His remarkable leadership earned him the title of “Nigeria’s Man of the Year 1997” from Newswatch, the oldest and most esteemed weekly journal in Nigeria.

Governor of Lagos State

From 1996 until 1999, Marwa presided as the military governor of Lagos State. Driving conditions were greatly improved during his administration by initiatives like “Operation 250 Roads.” In order to ensure that everyone could receive free malaria treatment, he renovated public health facilities. His government improved the infrastructure in underserved areas. He made sure that the law was upheld, issued a decree to regulate rents, and put an end to the “Jankara” method of evicting tenants. He became well-known in Lagos as a result of “Operation Sweep,” a joint police and military effort that assisted in reducing the infamously high crime rate in the city.

In February 1998, Buba Marwa said that unidentified gunmen were trying to kill him again and that he and his entourage had been the victim of numerous bomb attacks since 1996 on state radio and television in Nigeria. He swore he wouldn’t be intimidated. Mohammed Buba Marwa imposed gasoline limits in Lagos State in May 1998 to solve fuel shortages and reduce long queues at gas stations. Marwa officially opened Nigeria’s largest asphalt facility in Lagos in July 1998.

Business/Political Career

After completing his term as governor of Lagos State, Brigadier General Marwa left the Nigerian army and founded Albarka Airlines and the Buba Marwa Endowment. In September 2003, Buba Marwa gave up his position as chairman and CEO of Albarka Airlines. The Nigerian government controversially suspended Albarka Airlines’ operating licenses in May 2007 ostensibly for political reasons.

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 chosen to serve as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the South African Republic in 2007. As the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate in 2011, Marwa ran a campaign against Murtala Nyako, the incumbent governor of his native state of Adamawa. As a result of Governor Nyako joining the same party, the CPC, which he led, amalgamated with the ANPP and the ACN, prompting complaints from his supporters about unfair treatment. The APC was rejoined by Marwa and his supporters in June of the year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration, which occurred on May 29, 2015.

Since his nomination in January 2021, he has presided as Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). Since his employment, the organization is considered to have accomplished a remarkable amount in reducing the unrestricted flow of drug trafficking and drug usage in Nigeria.

Personal Life

Zainab Marwa, a supporter of women’s rights and the upbringing of girls who was a native of Imo State and passed away on January 8, 2022, at the age of 66, was married to Baba Marwa. Abubakar, Mohamed, Mariam, and Zainab are the couple’s four children, and they have ten grandkids in total.

Awards and Honours

National Honour

  • 2003―Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)

Nigerian Armed Forces Honour

  • 1998―Distinguished Service Star (DSS)

Academic Awards

  • 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)

Other Awards

  • 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).

Net Worth

He has an estimated net worth of $5 million.

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