2 BILLION COCAINE: SENATE CALLS FOR SYNERGY AMONG SECURITY OPERATIVES AT THE PORTS
The Chairman Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotic and Financial Crimes Senator Joshua Lidani has called for synergy among security operatives at the seaports as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) assures of detailed investigation into the two billion naira worth of cocaine seized by the Nigerian Customs Service at the Tincan Island Port Lagos. Ladini gave the directive at the weekend in Lagos during the Committee’s visit to the Agency. The committee members who were received by the Director General, Mrs Roli Bode-George at the Ikoyi headquarters of the Agency also inspected facilities at the Murtala Mohummed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos State and Tincan Island Port commands.
According to the committee Chairman, “we have observed that there is friction and lack of synergy between the Nigeria Customs and the NDLEA at the seaport. At the airport there is good collaboration but this is not so at the seaport. Agencies of government must work together in harmony because they have a common goal. Besides, the NDLEA must be properly positioned at the seaports to monitor and intercept narcotics. The suspected cocaine seizure made by the Customs and handed over to the NDLEA on Thursday October 13, 2016 should be properly investigated”.
Meanwhile, the anti-narcotics Agency said that investigation had commenced into the seizure and details shall be provided in due course. The suspected substance handed to the NDLEA by the Customs Service tested positive for cocaine with a weight of 214.732kg. The drug was concealed in eight bags each containing twenty-five (25) blocks.
Not satisfied with the state of infrastructure in the Agency, the committee has called for improved funding and provision of logistic support. He added that “our mission is to see how the Agencies under our supervision are performing in terms of their mandates. The senate has oversight responsibility over Agencies funded by the government with a view to identifying areas of waste, challenges and areas where the mandate is being misapplied for appropriate action to be taken. We have discovered that most of the support for the NDLEA is coming from foreign countries and organisations. This is not good for the country. The problem is ours and we need to tackle it using our resources while others can only support. The dog unit needs to be expanded to cover all the sensitive areas like seaports and land borders”.
Senator Lidani said that his committee is concerned about the drug problem in the country and is prepared to assist the NDLEA to perform optimally. “Drug use is taking a toll on the youths, elderly and even women. Appropriate measures must be taken to address the problem. We have seen that officers are working very hard but under difficult conditions. The welfare of staff is equally very poor. On our part, we have assisted the Agency in the acquisition of an office in Abuja. We also intervened in the area of inadequate personnel and Mr. President has graciously approved the recruitment of officers though money had not been released for that purpose. The Agency needs to be funded and equipped to perform its functions effectively and efficiently” he stated.
The committee called on the ministry of finance and other relevant institutions to support the Agency.