The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Gen. Buba Marwa on Thursday told the house of representatives committee on narcotics, during the 2023 defence session, that construct of barracks for its operatives is a top priority on its list of priorities.
He argued that the construction of the barracks for its personnel will prevent drug traffickers from targeting NDLEA staff living among them.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Marwa said 19,341 drug traffickers were arrested between January 2021 and September 31, 2022.
He said the agency also secured 3,111 convictions, and seized 5,451,000kg of illicit drugs within the same period.
Marwa said cash and drugs worth N420 billion were forfeited to the agency, while cannabis farms of 714 hectares were destroyed within the period under review.
According to Marwa, the agency is prosecuting over 3,232 cases in court, and has also counselled and rehabilitated 12,326 drug addicts within the same time frame.
“We in the NDLEA wish to assure this esteemed committee that we are resolute and will remain upstanding in rising to the challenge of our mandate, which is to eliminate the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, sale, trafficking and use of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances,” he said.
“We are giving equal attention to the drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction aspects of our work in addressing the drug scourge challenge.
“So far, through the grace of God, the support of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the encouragement of this esteemed committee, we have made a huge positive difference in tackling both drug trafficking and drug abuse in Nigeria.”
The NDLEA boss said N40,112,063,869 is allocated for the agency in the 2023 budget.
He said out of the figure, N16.607 billion is for personnel cost, N2 billion is earmarked for overhead, while N21 billion is for capital expenditure.
Marwa said N13 billion is captured in the 2023 budget for the construction of barracks for the agency, adding that the project was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022.
“However, that needs to be significantly enhanced; N13 billion will build only half a barrack. We, therefore, appeal for another N10 billion or more to be added to barracks.
“Barracks is very critical and we would appreciate that this N13 billion is enhanced with another N10 billion to bring it at par with the 2022 budget.”