The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it arrested 19,341 drug traffickers, seized 5,452 kilograms of illicit drugs worth N420 billion, and recorded 3,111 convictions between January 2021 and September 2022.
The chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NDLEA, Brig General Buba Marwa (retd), stated this yesterday, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotics to defend the 2023 budget proposal of the agency.
Marwa added that the agency has also destroyed 714 hectares of cannabis, as well as counselled and rehabilitated over 12,326 people in its rehabilitation centres within the same period.
The NDLEA boss, while stressing the need for the agency to be adequately funded, said about 15 million Nigerians were abusing drugs. Nevertheless, he noted that the agency is up to the task of combating drug offences in the country. He said the agency has secured the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to build barracks for its personnel, as a way of enhancing their security.
Marwa said N24 billion was appropriated for the barracks project in the 2022 budget, while N13 billion is proposed for the project in the 2023 Appropriation Bill. However, Marwa appealed to the lawmakers to appropriate another N10 billion for the barracks project in the 2023 budget.
He said: “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.
“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. That is why the barrack 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.”
The chairman of the committee, Francis Agbo, while speaking at the budget defence session, lauded the NDLEA for its efforts in combating illicit drugs in the country.
Agbo, who commended Marwa for his exploits in NDLEA, said the parliament would continue to support the agency in its efforts to rid the country of illicit drugs.