Drug Trafficking: Senators Reject Presidency’s Control Of NDLEA
By Our Correspondent
The Senate during the week rejected a proposal to put the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) under the control of the Executive. Besides, it urged the anti-drug trafficking agency to adopt strict measures in dealing with illicit drug traffickers and users in the country.
The Motion as adopted with additional prayers, was sponsored by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa(Lagos East-APC) and 21 others.
While presenting the motion titled: “Nigerians’ involvement in Illicit global drugs trade and Increase in Domestic drug abuse by Nigerian Youth”, the sponsor noted with “serious concern the engagement of some Nigerians in the usage and smuggling of Hard Drugs into Southeast Asian countries and other parts of the world”.
He regretted that “Malaysian authorities have again issued a strong statement that 40 percent of the foreigners being arrested for drug offences are from Nigeria”.
He disclosed that “So far, 30 out of 80 foreign dtudents arrested in 2015 were Nigerians, in a country where drug trafficking attracts supreme retribution”.
He also observed that “Nigerians are disguising as “University Students”, colluding with drug syndicates (predominantly outside Nigeria) there to undermine the visa system and gain entrance into Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other drug traffic routes”, On getting there, he disclosed “they abandon the education agenda and get busy with their illicit and illegal drug business activities; trading in opiates, cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamines.
The Colleges/Universities have been told to keep a look out for those who sign up for courses and don’t turn up”.
He lamented that “the Federal government has not swung into strategic action to curb the menace of drug couriers and their sponsors both in and out of Nigeria”.
He regretted that these drugs were harming and destroying Nigeria youth and tarnishing the image of the country.
The senator referred to an article in a newspaper,alleging that Nigeria is a major manufacturer of illicit drugs.
In his contribution to debate on the motion, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East-PDP), said “This is one of the longest motion sponsored in this Senate, and it is well detailed”, and may not require much debate.
According to Sen. Oluremi Tinubu(Lagos-APC), “the motion is important for the development of the country”, she also suggested that “the federal government should establish drug rehabilitation centres, to rehabilitate drug addicts .
Sen. Jibrin Barau (Kano Central-APC), on his part, regretted that “the sell of drugs in this country, has assumed an alarming dimension”.
He said “This has been going on for quite a while”, as he urged that ” All of us should put our hands on deck to tackle the problem. Even mothers who are supposed to take care of children are drug addicts”.
Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central-Labour Party), called for the NDLEA to be strengthened to collaborate with other international sister agencies to stop drug traffickers”
He also suggested that “We should strengthen the current 20 rehabilitation centres in the country”, for effectiveness.
Before it passed the motion, the Senate urged the FG to “reposition the NDLEA to be able to meet the challenges of evasive drug traffickers using Nigerians to traffic drugs, urge the Nigerian Police Force, NDLEA, National Agency for Food and Drug administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria to develop a collaborative approach towards curbing the incidence of drug use and abuse within the country”.
The Senate also mandated “the Senate committee and Drugs and Narcotics to consider an urgent amendment of section 23 of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria Act, to include the sale of prescription pills over the counter as an offence punishable by the Act”.
The Senate however rejected a prayer, mandating “the Federal Government to urgently consider placing the NDLEA under the direct supervision of the presidency as obtainable with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission(ICPC), as against being under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice”.
The Motion was referred to the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics for further consideration by Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki(Kwara-APC).