Senate president blames ‘drug barons’ for worsening insecurity in Nigeria

AHMED Lawan, Nigerian’s Senate president, has blamed the activities of drug dealers and barons for worsening insecurity in the country.

He stated this when he hosted Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in Abuja, on Thursday.

According to him, drug barons provided funds and ammunition to insurgent groups such as Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers and other groups terrorising the country.

While calling for collaborative efforts among all security agencies to enhance border security, Lawan decried the rate of drug abuses among youths.

“Drug peddlers pass their drugs through Nigeria – cannabis, heroin and possibly even cocaine. We believe that this has to stop because the proceeds of such activities fund terrorism and banditry. You wonder how the bandits have RPGs and these massive arms that they have. Definitely, these are some ammunition provided by some barons, not the bandits themselves,” he said.

“So, we need to ensure that this transit role that Nigerians plays is addressed properly. And here we have to approach this through multi-sectoral efforts – the Customs, Immigration Service, our security agencies, and, in fact, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and our seaports.

“Of course, this is not going to be easy, but we have to be steadfast and we should do whatever is possible with the limited resources we have to make things better. We also believe that the drug addiction level in Nigeria is so bad that we are losing our youths to drug addiction.”

He noted that terrorists, insurgents,  bandits and almost all the criminals often took drugs to enhance their courage while undertaking their illicit activities, stressing that there was a need “for us to step up our work on preventing our youths from taking the drugs, and that requires a lot of multi-dimensional efforts because some may be due to lack of employment, some illiteracy, and poverty generally.”

“These are some of the root causes. Somebody, out of frustration, is recruited to join. And, therefore, this is also something that the National Assembly has been trying hard to ensure that the economy of Nigeria provides for everyone – that we have an all-inclusive economy bringing up those who are down. And I believe that this is one way that we have to continue to deal with this scourge.

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“I also believe that we have to go on advocacy to our schools and institutions, and why not, even include in our curricula the issue of drugs, so that right from primary school up to secondary school level, our students should be able to understand the dangers of taking drugs.

“I believe that this is one incentive to criminality like you have just pointed out. So, it is a huge responsibility placed on your shoulders, but you are not going to walk it alone, we are going to walk it with you. I want to urge you that you get across to other agencies of government – like the Immigration Service, Customs, Airports Authority and SSS.  And the decay that you might have found is probably because the agency has not been able to have a better structure that will enable it to fight drug trafficking and even addiction of the 21st century,” Lawan said.

He promised that the National Assembly would give the NDLEA the necessary support to ensure that it properly discharged its duties and mandate to the people.



    He also called for a complete overhaul of the NDLEA in a bid to empower it to rise to the occasion of clamping down on the criminal activities of drug traffickers operating in the country.

    “The National Assembly members are almost on daily interaction with our constituents and we know the very debilitating impact of drug abuse in our various communities. You have rightly said that almost every community in this country suffers from drug addiction. So, we are very mindful of what is happening.

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    “I believe that this agency needs restructuring. Now that you have taken over, we should go the whole haul to restructure the agency, not piecemeal touches, because we need to get it right. My personal opinion is that NDLEA should be in the league of EFCC, ICPC, and therefore, the kind of support that those two agencies I mentioned receive, you should receive something like that, in addition to many other things that you should be supported with.

    “So, the National Assembly will definitely work with you. We will partner with you, and will ensure that we do our best to give you the kind of support that will enable you properly to discharge your mandate.”

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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