Nigeria: Drug Barons Funding Terrorists in Nigeria - Senate President

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday, blamed the lingering insecurity in Nigeria on the funding activities of drug barons who provide support to insurgent groups.

Lawan made this known when the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (Rtd), paid a visit to his office on Thursday at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to him, such drug barons, who engage in trafficking heroin, cannabis and cocaine, have made Nigeria a major transit route for plying the illicit trade, which he added, was responsible for the rise in criminality in the country.

He, therefore, called for the restructuring of the NDLEA so as to further empower it to rise to the occasion of clamping down on the criminal activities of drug traffickers operating in the country.

He said: "Let me say that Nigeria, as a country, is in one way or the other a transit route for drugs.

"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, they fund banditry, you wonder how the bandits have RPGs and these massive arms that they have.

"Definitely, these are some acquisition provided by some barons, not the bandits themselves."

He assured that the National Assembly would support the agency in the aspect of amending the NDLEA Act with a view to enabling the agency to achieve its core mandates.

'Poor salaries killing staff morale'

Earlier, the NDLEA Chairman, said that over N4 billion was being owed members of staff of the Agency as statutory entitlements by the previous administration of the agency.

He said the situation was affecting staff morale in fighting drug peddling and could make a staff compromise in the line of duty.

"When NDLEA officials are given peanut, there is a temptation to compromise with the people that they are supposed to be going after," Marwa said, raising concern that the agency was the only security agency fighting barrons and live among them in the same communities.

"No wonder they always come in the middle of the night to assassinate our people," he said, calling for the construction of barracks for the NDLEA Staff to protect them from attacks.

Marwa, who called on the National Assembly to review the act establishing the agency, said drug use among the youth was not properly factored into the fight against insecurity.

"We look at the other segments but forget that this is the causative area that needs to be equally attended to.

"This criminalities, insurgency, will not end so quickly until we face the underlining nexus between it and drugs," he said.

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