Nigeria's drug agency warns on funding

2014-02-13 09:06
(File)

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Nigeria
    How Ethnic Rivalry and Religious Fundamentalism Threatens Africa's Most Populous Nation Was R342.95 Now R308.66
    buy now
Lagos - From heroin stashed in human hair to drugs concealed in tins of sardines, Nigeria's anti-narcotics agency is used to having to deal with increasingly ingenious attempts at smuggling.

But where once the west African nation was only a key staging post for getting drugs such as cocaine and heroin around the world, it is now facing a battle to contain a growing problem at home.

Nigeria is involved in "all levels of the drugs business", Femi Ajayi, director-general of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), told AFP in an interview.

"Nigeria was a drug transit country in 1990. But now it is a drug transit, drug warehousing, drug consuming and exporting nation. We export every drug now."

As such, one senior official suggested current funding of the federal agency was "grossly inadequate" to combat the illegal trade, potentially hampering future expertise.

Ajayi for his part warned that if nothing was done, the country's already fragile internal security could be compromised.

"When we underfund or neglect NDLEA, we are indirectly voting for a country of drug dependants and drug addicts," he said at the agency's headquarters in Lagos.

"Adequately funding NDLEA is therefore a vote for national security."

 Budget cuts

Official agency figures indicated that the organisation's annual budget has been in steady decline in recent years.

In 2011, when it had 3 200 employees, the budget was 633 million naira ($3.9m) but in 2014, 441 million naira has been allocated, despite staffing going up by 2 000.

In its 2013 World Drug Report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, said Africa was becoming increasingly important in the global drugs trade.

Cannabis use in Nigeria was above the average for west and central Africa of 12.4%, while the country had the highest number of seizures of the drug in the region.

Growing cannabis has expanded from Nigeria's southwest to the southern oil states of Edo and Delta, central states of Kwara, Kogi and Benue, and Kebbi in the northwest.

Cultivation of the drug is seen as increasingly attractive, leading to a decline in the cultivation of local cash crops such as cocoa, rubber, kola nuts, cassava, cowpea and yams, said Ajayi.

The NDLEA said it destroyed 2 322 hectares of cannabis plantations between 2011 and 2012 and seized drugs worth more than estimated 33 billion naira in 2012 alone.

Some 360kg of drugs were destroyed between 2011 and 2012.

Concern over drug use

NDLEA figures indicated that it had a 98% success rate in prosecutions between 1990 and 2011 and that the number of suspected drug traffickers had fallen in recent years.

Recent arrests at the country's airports include a 54-year-old grandmother with a kilogramme of heroin in her hair and a 48-year-old widow with 66 wraps of methamphetamine in her body.

Suspects have previously been found with drugs concealed in fried chicken imported from Brazil, industrially-packed tins of sardines, herbal syrups, palm oil, steel-moulding machines and rug carpets.

Ajayi said more resources were needed because they were also facing a different threat from more organised - and ruthless - drug kingpins.

At least 70 agents have been killed across the country since 1990 and officers have come under attack during raids.

An official at the justice ministry claimed that if the NDLEA's budget was being cut, Nigeria was "just not serious" about tackling the problem.

"I want to believe there is a deliberate attempt by politicians to cripple NDLEA by starving it of funds," the official said, on condition of anonymity.

But the justice ministry spokesperson, Ambrose Momoh, denied that the agency was being singled out.

"I do not know why it is so. But I am aware that poor government funding cuts across other agencies and ministries. So, it is not only NDLEA that is suffering from under-funding," he told AFP.

"The supply and trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is raging and ravaging Nigeria," added Ajayi.

"Drug trafficking is still a very major problem despite our successes. I am worried."

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Pharmacist assistant

Sea Point
Kontak Recruitment
R1 Per Month

Cashiering Supervisor

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Hi-Tech Recruitment - Cape Town
R150 000 - R180 000 Per Month

Technical Consultant

Cape Town
Core Candidate (Pty) Ltd
R300 - R350 Per Hour

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.