Nigerian House of Representatives Advocates Increased Budget for NDLEA

The Nigerian House of Representatives has called for an increase in the budget allocation for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to enable it to effectively tackle the rising drug abuse problem in the country. The advocacy was spearheaded by Hon. Abass Aboworin Adigun, Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, who highlighted the critical need for adequate funding to empower the agency.

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Nigerian House of Representatives Advocates Increased Budget for NDLEA

During a session on Thursday in Abuja, the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics met with the NDLEA management to discuss the agency’s operational challenges and potential solutions. Hon. Adigun emphasized the urgency of the situation, warning that the future of the country is at risk if the NDLEA is not sufficiently empowered to combat drug offenders.

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Adigun proposed that the best way to ensure proper funding for the NDLEA is to move it from the Office of the Special Duty to the Presidency. This structural change would allow the agency to receive funds directly from the Presidency, thereby enhancing its capacity to fight drug abuse more effectively.

“The only way the agency can be properly funded is to move it from the office of the special duty to the presidency,” Adigun stated. “This is the only way to improve the fight against drug abuse.”

Despite being underfunded, the NDLEA has made commendable strides under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd.), the former Lagos State military administrator. The committee lauded Marwa’s efforts and urged the agency to continue its work while awaiting the passage of the bill that would facilitate the move to the Presidency. The House of Representatives has already passed the bill, and there is optimism that the Senate will follow suit, enabling the agency to receive increased funding and support.

“My committee’s research has shown that we are in trouble because many of our youths, who are the leaders of tomorrow, are into drugs,” Adigun explained. “Even worse, some housewives are also using drugs, meaning these families are being destroyed from within.”

Adigun lamented the inadequate support the NDLEA has received from the federal government. “The agency NDLEA has not been adequately helped by the federal government,” he said. “Their capital and overhead budgets for 2022, 2023, and 2024 are significantly lower compared to other agencies. To change this, the agency needs to be moved to the Presidency.”

Brig. Gen. Marwa addressed the committee, making a passionate appeal for the establishment of a special court to expedite the prosecution and conviction of drug offenders. He highlighted the delays caused by the regular courts, which are overwhelmed with numerous cases, resulting in frequent adjournments and prolonged trials.

“For the agency to expedite the prosecution and conviction process, we need a special court to handle our cases,” Marwa explained. “A case that should ordinarily be concluded within six months is often dragged out for years due to numerous adjournments.”

Marwa also emphasized the importance of educating young people about the dangers of drug abuse, a responsibility that he believes lies heavily on politicians. He pointed out that many politicians themselves are involved in drugs and need to educate their supporters about the dangers of drug use.

“Our job at the agency is to make sure we deny people access to drugs,” Marwa stated. “But we also need politicians to go back and educate their supporters on the need to stop taking drugs.”

The call for increased funding and the establishment of a special court for the NDLEA reflects the urgent need to strengthen the agency’s capacity to address the growing drug problem in Nigeria. With adequate support and resources, the NDLEA can better fulfill its mandate to combat drug abuse and ensure a safer future for the country’s youth.

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