By Joy Odor
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hon Francis Ottah Agbo has expressed dismay over the current state of drug abuse in the country, saying if Nigeria fail to destroy Narcotics drug abuse, Narcotics drug abuse will destroy Nigerians.
Honourable Agbo, representing Ado, Okpokwu/ Ogbadibo federal constituency in the House of representatives stated this when the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brigadier General Buba Marwa visited him in the National Assembly for an interface on how to reposition the agency to fight against illicit drug abuse menace in the country.
The lawmaker noted that the journey for the repositioning of NDLEA is timely because of the alarming rate of Narcotic drug abuse which have waded into every part of our country today.
“As a matter of fact, our major concern is to make NDLEA a well structured organisation that will have an unparallel level of efficiency in carrying out their statutory duties.
“We are aware that NDLEA is the only recognized agency that is Statutorily empowered to chase or fight drug barons, empowered to fight illicit drug abuse, we are working very hard, we will not relent, we will give you all necessary support you need to bring back NDLEA to its original status to fight illicit drug traffickers and Narcotic addition in the country especially among our teaming youths.
“When we came in, we were told that the agency have just eight (8) sniper dogs, I was told the number has reduced” adding that “NDLEA still use arms used during Nigerian civil war, just few very scanners across the country, other garjets like walking talking are in short supply among others.
“So we decided to work with the secretary of NDLEA and then take up with a bill known as the “Police Trust Fund Act amendments bill” which is at the second reading in the House of representatives.
“The bill is to make NDLEA who is slidely a policing institution to be a beneficiary of the police trust fund when amended, we are working very hard closely with the leadership of the House just to amend “police” in the Act to “Policing”.
Continuing he said “NDLEA that is established as a policing institution with prosecuting powers, investigating powers, against those illicit drug traffickers, drug barons who are well sophisticated and they move around with archaic arms and we said okay, we have to solve these problems by putting NDLEA among the beneficiaries of the police trust fund.
“We will liaise with the EFCC and the federal ministry of justice to cater for the procurement access so that part of the money can be use for other working aids that maybe needed to enhance your operations.
“We are also grateful to Mr. president for giving approval to NDLEA to recruit, as more and more hands are engaged the problem of under staffing in the agency will be solved.
“For us here in the parliament, we are ready to work with you, synergise with you, cooperate with you because we know very well that the war against the culture of Narcotics addition have eventually affected all spheres of the society in our country today, the war is a dear one and dear to everyone of us, if we fail to destroy Narcotic drug abuse, Narcotic drug abuse will destroy us”. Agbo submitted!
Earlier, the Chairman of the NDLEA, Brigadier General Buba Marwa said the Ninth Assembly has displayed great interest, competence, support and effort on the review of the NDLEA Act.
According to Marwa, the visit was intended to call for urgent intervention from the National Assembly, warning that Nigeria is in a state of siege today.
Brigadier General Marwa raised alarm that the drug addiction scourge was largely responsible for acts of criminalities which has pervaded all parts of the country, and the outcome witnessed in the spate of insecurity lately.
“This is a very important step to correct some of the lapses in an Act that was promulgated way back in 1989”, he said
“Yes, you have insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, but if you went to Ogoni to spoke to somebody about insurgency he might not be concerned.
“If you go to some other parts of the country and speak of kidnapping in some areas, it’s not a major concern. If you go to some other areas and speak of banditry, it may not be of major concern.
“But when you enter the realm of drug abuse, every part of Nigeria, you can for sure say that everybody in this room knows somebody, or a neighbour or family that has affliction with drug abuse.
“The drug affliction is actually the number one problem we are facing, it is everywhere.”
“First of all, it destroys our kids, women, our youths, and the family system. Secondly, it is behind the criminalities everywhere now.
“You have to be crazy to commit some of these criminalities, and what fuels it is drug abuse. Even the insurgents and bandits themselves, they take drugs before they go into their activities,” Marwa added.