The NDLEA was created by the military government of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida by decree No. 48 of 1989. This agency enforces drug laws and is legally empowered to carry out the following functions:
1. Investigates, arrests and prosecutes persons involved in the illicit drug trade or use of narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana etc.
2. Taking measures on how to exterminate illicit drug trafficking and consumption.
3. Adopts measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds — property/wealth derived from illicit drug business and trade.
4. Adopts measures to eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotic plants.
5. Adopts measures on how to eliminate illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which cause harm to human lives.