Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), yesterday said the Federal Government is owing the agency’s workers about N4 billion in allowances, among other expenses.
Marwa stated this when he visited Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja.
The NDLEA boss stressed that drug use and abuse must be checked in order to tackle insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities across the country.
He said: “The purpose of today’s visit is two-fold: it is an advocacy visit; secondly, a visit that calls for urgent intervention from the Senate President.
“Nigeria is in a state of siege today. Yes, we are having the insurgency, banditry and kidnapping. But when you go to some areas and speak of the menace, it may not be of great concern to the paople. But when you enter the realm of drug abuse, every part of Nigeria is affected.
“Unfortunately to this point, the drug situation is not properly factored into the security architecture. We look at the other segments but forget that this is the causative area that needs to be equally attended to.
“When I took over about six or seven weeks back, I found the agency comatose.
“I would not like to go into too much detail. This is an agency that we need to demonstrate readiness for. But unfortunately, the state of readiness is very weak.
“The morale, above all, is the weakest that I have ever met in any paramilitary institution.
“Almost every worker is owed either his duty allowance or his allowance for prosecution, for movement to and from court, or for transfer and traveling.
“There is over N4 billion owed just for the workers. So, the morale is very low. There is stagnation. The promotions and postings are among the aspects.
“When the NDLEA officials are given a pittance, there is the temptation to compromise with the people they are supposed to go after. That is why we always request for sufficiency.
“Now, the inadequacies in other areas are many, but I will mention the absence of barracks.
“It is amazing that we are the only security agency fighting (drug) barons and living among them in the same communities.
“No wonder they always come in the middle of the night and assassinate our people.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged Marwa to urgently restructure the agency for more effectiveness.
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He insisted that the NDLEA needs to operate on the same tempo with sister agencies, like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Also, the House of Representatives has urged Marwa to wage the war against illicit drugs to a standstill.
Speaking at a meeting with the NDLEA boss, Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Francis Agbo said the drug war is a must win for the new NDLEA boss.
The lawmaker said it is a war that all well-meaning citizens must also join.
Appreciating the enormous challenges facing the agency, Agbo regretted that it was understaffed, underequipped and underfunded by the Federal Government.
He assured the new NDLEA leadership that the committee would appropriate necessary funds for the agency to have smooth operations.
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