NDLEA budgets N38bn for 2022

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NDLEA boss, Marwa

NDLEA budgets N38bn for 2022

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has submitted a budget of N38.152, 288, 851.00 for the year 2022 to the National Assembly for consideration.

The budget comprises Recurrent Personnel Cost of N10,499, 961,097, Recurrent Overhead Cost of N998,973, 302 and Capital Expenditure of N26,662,354,452.

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The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig-General Mohammed Marwa made the disclosure on Wednesday while presenting the budget of the agency to the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotic Drugs.

Marwa, while intimating the House Committee on details of the budget, expressed his gratitude to the Committee for its support to the agency always.

He said that the efforts of the Committee towards amending the Police Trust Fund Act and the bill being sponsored by Dr. Francis Ottah Agbo, the chairman of the House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, for compulsory routine drug tests on certain categories of individuals were extremely beneficial to the agency.

Marwa expressed his dismay over the poor funding of the agency, and stressed the need for adequate funding, saying the personnel of the agency risked the temptation of being corrupted if NDLEA continuously remained underfunded.

According to him, with over 10,000 personnel and 173 formations including 111 area commands, it was lamentable that the agency gets only about N33 million monthly for its operations.

Earlier, the chairman of the House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Dr. Ottah Agbo commended Marwa for turning the NDLEA around within the short time that he assumed office.

Agbo noted that the agency was dead before Marwa “came to judgement,”and restored it to life. He appreciated Marwa and his team for recording gigantic successes in less than 10 months.

Agbo stressed that Marwa and the management staff achieved such success “with bare hands,” adding that the federal government could leverage on the success story of NDLEA to redeem the battered image of Nigeria, the same way that former President Obasanjo used NAFDAC under the leadership of late Professor Dora Akunyili to rebrand the country.

He said the 9th National Assembly was committed to partnering with NDLEA to wage the concerted war against the drug scourge which he said would destroy Nigeria if it was not urgently nipped in the bud or brought to the barest minimum.

As part of its contribution to strengthen the NDLEA, the lawmaker said his committee was sponsoring critical bills that were aimed at making the agency to “bark and bite.”

Agbo said the bills included the amendment of the NDLEA Act to, amongst other things, wipe out the option of fine that is usually granted drug offenders, and make them forfeit all their assets upon conviction by the court of law.

Similarly, he said, as part of its efforts to frontally tackle the menace of drug test, another bill was being proposed to make routine drug test compulsory for politicians, students, pilots, security personnel etc.

Acknowledging that the NDLEA was grossly underfunded, the Committee Chairman said he was proposing a bill to make the agency get its funding directly from the presidency, adding that the bill to amend the Police Trust Fund Act to make the NDLEA a beneficiary of the funds had passed first reading.

Agbo who is also the chairman of the minority caucus, said the House Committee on Narcotic Drugs was not in support of the bill to legalise the use of cannabis in Nigeria.

He said the upsurge in crime and criminality especially, terrorism, banditry and kidnapping was linked to heavy use and reliance on narcotic drugs. While noting that Cannabis was the most abused drug, he said that Nigeria was the highest abuser of Cannabis in the world.

Agbo’s spokesman, Andrew Agbese, in a statement on Thursday quoted the Committee Chairman as saying that his Committee would not support the bill as Nigeria already had many cases of drug related crimes, noting that any attempt to legalize the use of Cannabis would further escalate crime and criminality in Nigeria.

“Let it be known that the Joint Committee of the National Assembly is not in support of the bill targeted at legalizing Cannabis,” he said.

It would be recalled that in the previous year, the NDLEA under the chairmanship of Col. Mohammed Abdallah (rtd) had budgeted N12.6 billion for 2021 out of which N9.6 billion was for recurrent expenditure, N3 billion for capital expenditure and N398m as overhead.

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