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Drug barons tempting our personnel – NDLEA chair, Marwa

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa has stated that inadequate funding is affecting the operations of the agency.

This was stated on Wednesday by the NDLEA chairman when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on drugs and narcotics.

Marwa said personnel of the agency are “tempted” to collect bribes from drugs barons due to inadequate funding of the NDLEA.

“There are serious funding challenges and apart from being a detriment to our successful operations, there is another aspect of poor funding of an agency like the NDLEA,” he said.

“There is no business that is awash with funds anywhere in the world from unproductive efforts like the drugs business; they have billions.

“So, when you do not fund the agency, the personnel have temptation. They are tempted by these barons. This is another aspect of the need for adequate funding so that personnel have their monies.

“The proposal for 2022 is an improvement on the past budgets and this stems primarily from the keen interest of the president on the challenges that we are facing, and as well the minister of finance, who is committed to ridding the country of drug abuse.

“It is an improvement, but there are critical areas that need enhancement in which we would rely on this committee to support us.

“The usual MDA budget envelope allocated for the ministry of justice was what we all shared. The budget is a total of N38,152,288,851.”

Marwa added that there is a need for the agency to acquire more arms and ammunition to fight drug trafficking.

Francis Agbo, chairman of the committee, said the national assembly will partner with NDLEA to ensure that it “bites and barks properly”.

“If we fail to address drugs, then we destroy Nigeria,” he said.

“In the ninth assembly, NDLEA has fared better than in previous assemblies. We have worked closely with you to ensure there is improvement in the funding of the NDLEA.

“The upsurge in terrorism and other crimes is related to the upsurge in narcotics drug addiction.

“We are working so hard to ensure that we amend the police trust fund by simply changing it to policing trust fund, because the decree establishing the NDLEA recognises it as a policing agency with full powers to investigate and prosecute and without funding, the NDLEA cannot do much.

“Therefore, since we have humongous amounts of money stashed in the police trust fund, we are proposing a bill — it has passed first reading — to ensure that the NDLEA is made to be a beneficiary of that trust fund. That tells you how serious we are here at the national assembly.”

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