NDLEA seeks end to duplication of duties in sister agencies
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is seeking exclusive legislative powers to be the lone government institution when it comes to dealing with offences relating to illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
The agency has also proposed legal backing that will enable it to appoint drug attaches from amongst its staff to serve in Nigerian foreign missions.
These reforms are contained in the NDLEA Amendment Bill 2021 under consideration in the Senate and sponsored by Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka (Plateau Central).
Chairman of the agency, Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa, made this known in his presentation at a public hearing on the bill, yesterday, at the National Assembly.
Marwa, who was represented by the Director-General of NDLEA, Shedrach Haruna, noted that the new amendment seeks to address four basic things in the principal law of the NDLEA, namely: Establishment of additional scientific laboratories; changing of the word ‘heroine’ to ‘heroin’; restricting the sentencing discretion of judges and increasing the amount of fine for the punishment of obstruction.
The amendment proposed by the NDLEA in Section 3, subsection (2) is to the effect that “All drugs units under existing institutions dealing with offenders or offences concerned with or relating to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances shall relate and be responsible to the agency (NDLEA) in performance of their duties and function and transfer all seized substances and persons arrested in pursuant to this Act to the agency for prosecution”.
According to Marwa, this will enhance local coordination by the agency for the purpose of international reporting and cooperation and grant NDLEA power to operate in all Nigerian entry and exit points and ports without hindrance or legal encumbrance.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Yahaya Oloriegbe, however, faulted the demand for drug attache in foreign mission.
“I saw where you are proposing the appointment of drug attachés in every mission or as may be necessary, which is not there before. Do you know the cost implication of that vis a vis the load of work and then the relevance of that in all our missions abroad?
“Now, even the staff that we have who are the core staff, there are challenges in terms of payments. What you are trying to do is to create another corps that would be on drug desks in other countries. What kind of work will they be doing on a day-by-day basis? They will be a drain on national resources. I have concerns about this and unless you are able to convince us. We will look at that.”
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