The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said that the ongoing fight against drug dealers would only achieve the desired result if the ongoing amendment of its act by the National Assembly were quickly completed and infused with stiffer punishment across the country.
NDLEA said that the option of fine in the act has continued to embolden the drug dealers to engage in drug peddling and trafficking within the country and abroad which had previously affected the country’s image.
Speaking on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 on the floor of the Senate, Chairman of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), said that the removal of clauses that allow an option of fines for drug offenders from the Agency’s Act would strengthen the deterrence effect of court prosecution and conviction.
Through a statement released on Wednesday and made available to newsmen by the agency’s Director for Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA boss stated that though he had visited the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho on the issue of how light punishment are given to some drug traffickers, he, however, said the removal of the clause that allows Judges use discretionary powers to give options of fine would resolve the jigsaw.
While defending the agency’s N38.1billion 2022 budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics chaired by Senator Hezekiah Dimka, Marwa said the allocation of funds may not solve all the problems facing the body, however, he believes that it is a great improvement on the previous budgets.
“And as such, we want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari, the Finance Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and more importantly, the leadership of the National Assembly and this esteemed Committee on Drugs and Narcotics for giving us all the support we need to make the progress being talked about today”, he said.
Earlier, Dimka congratulated Marwa for the achievements recorded by the Agency since his administration in office, adding that there is no doubt that his approach and manner of operations to the fight against drug trafficking and abuse is extraordinary.
Other members of the committee including the Vice-Chairman, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani expressed support for the good work the NDLEA is doing and promised to enhance and pass the budget to enable the Agency achieve greater feats next year.