CHAIRMAN of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Rtd) on Thursday raised the alarm that drug barons were now after the operatives of the agency following the renewed efforts of the agency towards curbing circulation and consumption of illicit and hard drugs in the country.
The NDLEA boss raised the alarm when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee of Drugs and Narcotics to defend the agency’s 2022 budget performance and 2023 proposal.
He said that in the renewed efforts against drug war under his watch, the agency had arrested and is prosecuting 28 barons with seizures worth billions of naira.
According to him, “we have arrested and are prosecuting so far 28 barons with seizures worth billions of naira. Indeed, one of the barons we found had 103 bank accounts with a total balance of over 20 billion naira, which we have frozen.”
Consequently, the NDLEA boss said that there was an urgent need to provide barracks accommodation for the operatives of the agency for their safety.
According to him, “the barracks issue is very critical to us because as we all know the NDLEA is very aggressive now against drug traffickers and the drug barons and when you arrest and prosecute them and send them to jail, they are not happy. So they come after our personnel and with our personnel living in the town and cities and among them, we have been recording casualties and assassinations against them.”
He, however, disclosed that the agency was at the process of building a barrack for NDLEA personnel for the first time following the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari and well in the process of building three laboratory Centre’s, two forensic laboratories and purchasing of security equipment.
He added that the agency has concluded the acquisition of land in Adamawa, Abuja and Lagos for the barracks and the Private Public Partnering process is rounding off.
The NDLEA boss said that N24 billion was allocated to the barracks project in the 2022 budget but now been slashed to N13 billion in the 2023 budget proposal and demanded an additional N10 billion for the projects.