Senate President Ahmad Lawan has alleged that drug barons fund criminal activities in Nigeria.
Lawan spoke when Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), paid him a visit at the national assembly on Thursday.
A statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, special assistant to the senate president, quoted Lawan as saying such drug barons have made Nigeria a “transit route for drugs”.
Lawan called for the restructuring of the NDLEA so as to “further empower it to rise to the occasion of clamping down on drug traffickers operating in the country”.
He said the national assembly will support the agency in the aspect of amending the NDLEA act.
“I believe that this agency needs restructuring. Now that you have taken over, we should go the whole haul to restructure the agency, not piecemeal touches, because we need to get it right,” Lawan said.
“My personal opinion is that NDLEA should be in the league of EFCC, 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.
“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 (FAAN), and our seaports.”
Lawan emphasised the need for multi-dimensional efforts across various agencies of governments aimed at tackling underlying causes of insecurity, such as illiteracy, unemployment, and poverty.
He also advocated for the inclusion of drug education in the curriculum of schools and institutions of learning in Nigeria.
Marwa, on his part, said the visit was intended to “call for urgent intervention from the senate president” on the drug addiction scourge.
He described drug addiction as the “number one problem we are facing” in the country.