Drug barons supply terrorist groups like Boko Haram as well as bandits and kidnappers with arms and ammunition to undertake criminal activities in Nigeria, Senate President Ahmed Lawan claims.
Lawan stated this when the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, paid a visit to his office at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Thursday.
Lawan said drug traffickers have made Nigeria a major transit route for plying the illicit trade, which he said was responsible for the rise in criminality in the country.
According to him, the proceeds of such activities fund terrorism and banditry in the country.
Lawan said, “The National Assembly members are almost on a daily interaction with our constituents and we know the very debilitating impact of drug abuse in our various communities.
“You have rightly said almost every community in this country suffers from drug addiction. So, we are very mindful of what is happening.
“I believe that this agency needs restructuring. Now that you have taken over, we should go the whole haul to restructure the agency, not piece meal touches, because we need to get it right.
“My personal opinion is that NDLEA should be in the league of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, 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.
“Having said this, 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.
“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, 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 without the limited resources we have to make you better.”