Posted by News Express | 4 November 2021 | 455 times
The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has lamented that it had been difficult to bring down drug cartels over the years because the top leadership was insulated through several layers.
The Chairman disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on NDLEA to defend the agency’s budget.
Marwa said: “As we all know, the cartel organisations where the top leadership is insulated through several layers, it takes a lot of movement, investigation, intelligence to pin them down.”
Marwa explained that the agency engaged in a lot of training, manpower development, information and intelligence, maintenance of vehicles, plant and machinery, local and international travels, deployments, and postings surveillance, and cannabis cultivation, trafficking and abuse and the destruction of cannabis plantations, among others.
Marwa went cap-in-hand lamenting before the committee over inadequate funding of the agency.
It was at this point a member of the committee, Hon. Mohammed Biu, recalled when he visited the agency a couple of months ago, some of the furniture there were obsolete, while some required complete maintenance, some needed to be changed outrightly.
Responding, Marwa explained that when he assumed office as the Chairman of the agency, he had to buy the television and the furniture in his office with his money.
He added: “Thank you very much indeed for this passionate recognition of what we have. When I took over the agency, I bought my own television, in the office and the furniture.”
Marwa, however, presented the total budget of N38, 152, 280,51, with personnel cost of N10.49 billion; overhead cost – N998. 73 million and capital cost – N26.662 billion.
He pointed out that the remuneration for the 5,000 newly recruited personnel was not captured in the 2022 proposed budget, but assured that it would be captured in the service-wide vote.
Marwa said at the moment, the agency has 10,000 personnel strength, but the 5,000 recently recruited would raise it to 15,000 next year.
He stressed the need for the construction of barracks for the safety of his personnel.
According to him, “As we go after the drug barons and the cartels, my men and their families don’t have security because they still go back to the town where they live among them (barons and cartels) and we’ve had cases of assassinations, burning of our businesses, homes and severe injuries and attacks and so on.”
Marwa said the President and Minister of Justice have shown support for the project, saying the barracks would be built in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The committee however refused to review the 2021 budget of the agency as it is often done, before asking the ministry to present the 2022 proposed budget.
The committee also assured that the budget of the agency would be increased.
(Text from THISDAY: Excluding headline)
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