Rep Ottah Agbo Assures NDLEA Of Full Support In Fight Against Drug Scourge

L-R: Gen Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman NDLEA and Rep Francis Ottah Agbo, Chairman House Committee On Narcotic Drugs

…Thanks Marwa for selfless service to nation…

Marwa commends Rep for partnering NDLEA to defeat drug addiction

…Wants Pharmacists Council Bill passed

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Dr. Francis Ottah Agbo, has reiterated the commitment of the committee towards ensuring the fight against substance abuse and narcotic drug addiction in Nigeria is won.Dr. Ottah Agbo restated the commitment at a meeting of the Narcotic Drugs Committee of the House of Representatives with the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) and top management staff of the agency at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, Thursday. The Lawmaker, who represents Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency, said having identified drug scourge as a major cause of the social dislocations in the country, the House of Representatives being a people’s parliament, has decided to champion the fight against substance abuse and narcotic drug addiction in the country, stating that “if we fail to destroy narcotic drug addiction, it will destroy Nigeria.” He said he and his committee are fighting the war in collaboration with the NDLEA which he noted was the agency statutorily empowered to fight the menace.Dr. Ottah Agbo, who is the spokesman of the minority caucus of the House of Representatives, said he is pleased with the appointment of Marwa, who he described as a turn-around expert, as chairman of the NDLEA. While describing him as the New Sheriff in town, the Lawmaker said Marwa has the capacity to clear the doubts of illicit drug traffickers and drive the officers and men of the NDLEA towards achieving the mandate of the agency.The Honourable Member, who is popularly known as the Ozigizaga and the Feedback Lawmaker, said he has confidence that just as the late Prof. Dora Akunyili positively impacted on the image of NAFDAC through hard work and dedication to duty, Marwa will do more for the NDLEA given the level of technology available now.While running through the problems facing the NDLEA which he said include lack of adequate personnel and equipment as well as inadequate funds, the Committee Chairman said with the support from the parliament and the extent his committee has gone, he is confident that the NDLEA will soon begin to bark and bite.”It is because we are aware of the enormity of the challenges faced by the NDLEA that we wasted no time in approving money for the agency in the 2020 and 2021 budgets so that the bulk of the problems of the agency would be addressed. Today, NDLEA has a Transit House in Abuja and a national headquarters for the NDLEA is in the offing!”We also worked out the Police Trust Fund Amendment Bill. Since NDLEA is a policing agency established to investigate and prosecute narcotic drug addicts,we want to amend the existing Police Trust Fund Act to read Policing Trust Fund Act to make the NDLEA, a beneficiary of the Police Trust Fund and I am happy to report to you that the bill has reached second reading,” he said.The journalist turned politician said his committee will in the next budget make sufficient provision for the agency to procure sophisticated weapons and other working aides to effectively take the battle to the door steps of drug barons and traffickers, stressing that it is unacceptable for the NDLEA to use Nigeria Civil War Weapons in their daily operations while those who use and deal in drugs use modern weapons.”Part of the reasons why narcotic drug addiction progresses at a geometric progression and why the war against it progresses at arithmetic progression is that, why the traffickers flaunt sophisticated weapons, NDLEA operatives chase them with archaic weapons such as the ones used during the Nigeria -Biafra Civil War! This must change and we are set to make sufficient provisions for the agency in the 2022 budget for you to procure modern weapons” he added.Dr. Ottah Agbo called on the NDLEA chairman and the other top management staff to use their influence to intensify efforts towards getting more people to buy into the idea of amending the Police Trust Fund Act so that it will see the light of day. He also urged them to explore their goodwill to attract donor agencies to make more donations to the agency!Dr. Ottah Agbo thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the employment of more personnel for the agency saying with that, one of the basic problems of the agency would be solved and called on the NDLEA chairman to expedite action on the process of recruitment as more Nigerians want to join the agency to help in the fight against substance abuse and drug addiction. The NDLEA Chairman in his remarks, said he was at the meeting to intimate the Honourable Members of the state of affairs at the agency when he took over as chairman seven weeks ago.He said the drug scourge is currently Nigeria’s number one problem as it is at the base of most of the crimes in the country.Marwa said this is because nobody in his right sense would wake up and abduct persons unless under substance influence.He said the NDLEA has discovered that the bulk of the money collected as ransome from families and associates of kidnap victims is used for the purchase of hard drugs stressing that unless this underlying problem of substance abuse is solved, Nigeria will be scratching the surface in dealing with the current state of insecurity.”Once we get the drug scourge solved the criminality would drop,” he stated, adding that within the past weeks, the agency has been optimal on that assignment.He said while it is necessary to go after those dealing and using narcotic drugs, it is also important to protect the rest of the population from falling under its harmful influence.The NDLEA Chairman called on the legislature to expedite action on the Phamarcists Council Bill which he said has been in the National Assembly for 4 years, stressing that the passage of the bill is critical to winning the war against drug addiction and substance abuse.The NDLEA chairman was accompanied by his Special Adviser, Col. Yakubu Bako, who was Military Administrator of AkwaIbom State, the Secretary to the agency, Mr. Shedrack Haruna, Director of Intelligence of the agency, Sunday Irange, the head of media, Mr. Femi Babafemi and others .

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