The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has said drug barons are funding terrorists with arms and ammunition to undertake criminal activities in the country.
He stated this in Abuja when the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, retd, visited him yesterday.
Lawan urged the Agency to work harder to halt the criminal activities of drug traffickers operating in the country.
The senator assured the Agency that the National Assembly would support it in amending the NDLEA Act, which will help the Agency achieve its core mandate.
He noted that “The National Assembly members are almost on daily interaction with our constituents, and we know the very debilitating impact of drug abuse in our various communities.
“You have rightly said that almost every community in this country suffers from drug addiction. So, we are very mindful of what is happening.
“I believe this Agency needs restructuring. Now that you have taken over, we should restructure the Agency, not piecemeal touches, because we need to get it right.
“My personal opinion is that NDLEA should be in the league of EFCC, ICPC, and, therefore, the kind of support that those two agencies receive, you should receive, in addition to many other things that you should be supported with.
“So, the National Assembly will work with you; we will partner with you and ensure we do our best to give you the kind of support that will enable you to discharge your mandate correctly.
“Having said this, let me say that Nigeria is in one way or the other a transit route for drugs. 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, banditry; you wonder how the bandits have RPGs and these massive arms they have.
“These are some acquisition provided by some barons, not the bandits themselves. So, we need to ensure that this transit role that Nigerians play is adequately addressed. We have to approach this through multi-sectoral efforts — the Customs, Immigration Service, our Security Agencies, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, 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 within the limited resources we have to make you better.”
Speaking on the drug addiction rate in Nigeria, the senate president said there is a need for multi-dimensional efforts across the various agencies of governments to settle underlying causes such as illiteracy, unemployment and poverty, responsible for youths’ exposure to criminal tendencies.