Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Francis Ottah Agbo, has advised the federal government to stop treating the menace of narcotic drug addiction in Nigeria with kid gloves.
The chairman also said the NDLEA should be listed among the security agencies in the country.
He noted that the earlier government begins to see narcotic drug addiction as a national emergency, the better, for Nigeria.
According to him, drug problem threatens all segments of the country, especially the youths, noting that, “If we say the youths are the leaders of tomorrow then we must secure the future now by defeating illicit drug or else there may be no country that we can proudly call our own tomorrow, except all hands are on deck to fight this scourge.”
A statement signed by Ottah’s media adviser, Andrew Agbese, indicated that the lawmaker made the call at a pre-budget meeting with the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and top management officials of the agency at the National Assembly Complex.
Ottah, who represents Ado/Ogbadigbo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency of Benue State said the fight against narcotic drug addiction was so huge that it cannot be left for one agency alone to handle but must be supported by all to achieve the desired result.
He restated the fact that the NDLEA was underfunded, underequipped and understaffed, stressing that these challenges make the agency a toothless bull dog.
He regretted that the NDLEA still uses civil war weapons to chase drug traffickers.
“As we speak, NDLEA still uses weapons used during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, in the whole of Nigeria, we have only eight sniffer dogs even these dogs were donated to us by the Germans, we have very few scanners and all of these lack, hamper the smooth operation of the agency and only increased finding can bridge this gap” the chairman noted.
He, however, said that his would do its best to empower the NDLEA, so as to carry out its functions effectively and has proposed a restructuring of the laws establishing the Police Trust Fund Act to include, the NDLEA as a beneficiary.
He said, “We all recall that the NDLEA was established to investigate arrest and prosecute drug offenders, so it’s a policing institution.
By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO,