Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), has said that drug barons were killing the agency’s operatives for vengeance, in the fight against drug trafficking in the country.
He stated this yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Narcotics to defend the agency’s 2022 budget performance and 2023 proposal.
Marwa, who advocated the provision of barracks for the operatives to save their lives, said the agency had acquired land in Adamawa, Abuja and Lagos for the barracks, adding that the building of the facilities would be under Private Public Partnership, PPP.
He also disclosed that the agency was on the verge of constructing three rehab centres, two forensic laboratories and purchasing of security equipment, but decried the slashing of the budget earmarked for the project.
According to him, while N24 billion was allocated to the barracks project in the 2022 budget, it was later slashed to N13 billion in the 2023 budget proposal, requiring additional N10 billion for the projects.
The NDLEA boss said: “The barracks issue is very critical to us because as we all know the NDLEA is very aggressive now against drug traffickers and the drug barons and when you arrest and prosecute them and send them to jail, they are not happy.
”So they come after our personnel and with our personnel living in the town and cities and among them, we have been recording casualties and assassinations against them.
“Like I said earlier the President had graciously approved the construction of barracks for the Agency last 2022. The barrack project is ongoing and the sum of N13 billion has been captured in the 2023 budget proposal.
”Last year it was N24 billion. Actually 24 billion cannot build a barrack, complete barracks. But we had to figure out certain key priorities in selected areas, bearing in mind the need to go round all the geopolitical zones and this year, we have been able to look at four zones. We have touched Lagos but it still needs more to be done.
“We pray that with more money for the barracks, because N13 billion would probably build half a barracks, but if we are able to achieve another 10 billion or more on this barrack, then we would be able to add three more of the geopolitical zones for us to complete six.
”Hopefully as the years go by and we have other chairman, the struggle for barracks would continue.”