The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it will build barracks in the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory for its 10,000 personnel.
The Chairman of the agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd.), disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, when he appeared before the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes.
Marwa said the agency proposed N300 billion for that purpose, adding that it had commenced work with some architects and consultants for the project to take off.
He said the size of the agency’s personnel had gone up to 15,000 with the 5,000 new personnel currently undergoing training.
He said the agency had planned that the first phase of the project would commence in the six geo-political zones in the country.
The former military Governor of Lagos State also called for improved funding of the agency to enable it to curtail the activities of drug cartels in the country.
He said the drug cartels were becoming wary of the nation’s airports and Seme border, hence had resorted to using boat to perpetrate their heinous crime.
According to him, there is need for more arms and ammunition, I cannot mention the number we currently have in the presence of the media.
The NDLEA boss urged the committee to consider substantial improvement in funding the agency, if it desired to arrest the peddling of illicit drugs in the country.
Marwa said there were still numerous areas in need of intervention to make the agency more effective in its operations.
Commenting on the poor state of funding, Marwa said that when he assumed office, he brought his own personal television to the office because the one on ground was not functioning.
“There are serious funding challenges and this is detrimental to the success of our operation.
“When you don’t fund the agency, you expose the personnel to temptation,” he said.
Marwa, however, said that efforts were being made to move the agency’s budget from the Ministry of Justice to the Presidency for direct funding.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Francis Agbo, said he was sure the chairman would bring a turn around to the agency.
Agbo promised that the committee would work to ensure that NDLEA was considered a priority agency.
He said that the drug situation in the country remained a major threat and as a people and government, there was need to rise in support of the war against illicit drugs.
Agbo said the N38.2 billion in the 2022 budget proposal for the agency appeared inadequate, considering the enormity of it work.
He said that members of the committee would meet with the Committee on Appropriation to ensure that the right appropriation was made for the agency. (NAN)