Reps raises alarm over poor funding of NDLEA

⦁ move autonomy for Agency for optimal performance

The House of Representatives on Monday raised the alarm over the poor funding of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA despite its critical role in the development of any Nation of the world.

Chairman of the House Committee of Narcotics, Hon Francis Ottah Agbo who raised the alarm at the inaugural meeting of the Committee in Abuja however assured that the House in the Ninth National Assembly would do everything humanly possible to redress the situation as he was already working on a bill for the agency’s autonomy.

Hon Agbo lamented that the NDLEA established since 1989 and saddled with the responsibility of tracing, arresting and prosecution of drug offenders was still in infancy in all the states of the federation.

The lawmaker who disclosed that the Justice Ministry was yearly starving the agency of the funds needed by it to function optimally, however, hinted that he was already working on a bill that would make it autonomy like the Central Bank of Nigeria.

While stating that no country of the world was free of drug-related offences, Hon Agbo lamented that the envelope system of budgeting being adopted by the Ministry of Justice for the agency was hampering its operations.

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He disclosed that the personnel cost of the agency presently stood at N8 billion which he said took a large chunk of the annual budget of the agency while only about N200m was meant for its operations.

According to him: “As at today, such an all-important agency is being underfunded, the agency lives on charity, for the whole, it has only eight sniffer dogs for its operations and the dogs were even donated to the country by the German government.

“It has gotten to such a pathetic situation that its staff deployment is two staff to local government and it has only a vehicle to cover six local governments.

“While the agency is fighting drug wars with analogue weapons used during the civil war, the traffickers are using modern and sophisticated weapons to boost their illicit trade.

“Most of the multifaceted problems we are facing today as a country such as kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking, violent crime of all kinds and what have you, are all side effects of drugs.

“So, as a Nation, nobody will take us seriously on our seriousness in the war against drugs, the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow, are now neck-deep in drugs, we must rise against this challenge and arrest the menace to secure the future of our country.”

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