ABUJA – Perturbed by increasing cases of drug abuse involving youths, the Federal Government, yesterday, said it would adequately allocate fund to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in the 2017 budget.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN, who disclosed the intention of the government, said there was need to financially strengthen the agency for better service delivery.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the AGF on media and publicity, Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, Malami gave the assurance when members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Drugs and Narcotics paid him a courtesy visit last week.
The delegation was led by Senator Joshua Lidani (chairman, Senate Committee on Narcotics) and Hon. Azodo Eucharia (chairman, House Committee on Narcotics).
Equally in attendance at the meeting was the Chairman, NDLEA, Col. Mustapha Mohammed Abdallah, retd.
The AGF who was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun also appealed to the National Assembly to guarantee necessary legislations that will engender a drug free nation.
The Minister observed that adequate funding was fundamental and strategic for effective performance by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) especially the NDLEA, which he described as an institution charged with the onerous responsibility of combating the drug menace nationwide.
“Malami who expressed delight with the manner of presentations and contributions by the legislators, lamented that the normal trend in the country was for allocations to be approved on the basis of funds rather than on the needs of the nation as articulated by the MDAs.
“He pledged to do his best to ensure that the areas that need to be improved upon in the Agency for optimal performance are met, regretting that at some point there was a disconnect”, the statement added.
Speaking earlier, Senate Committee Chairman on Drugs and Narcotics, Senator Lidani noted that NDLEA was in dire need of greater funding to enable it function optimally to be able to deliver its constitutional mandate of combating the drug menace.
He described as worrisome, the high level of drug trafficking in the country and the inadequacies of the agency to confront the scourge adequately as a result of shortfall in manpower and transportation especially operational vehicles, boats and aircrafts.
According to him, when the joint Committee approached the Head of Service to request for staff increase for the agency, they were told there is no cash backing to employ additional staff, saying that while the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) got approval to recruit 7,000 staff recently, just like some other para-military outfits, the NDLEA was left out