The federal government has approved the purchase of four armoured vehicles at the cost of N580.5 million for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, who announced this to State House Correspondents after the week’s FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the approval was in consideration of NDLEA’s recent success stories and the possibility of targeted attacks on its personnel.
The agency was in the news recently when it seized cocaine with an estimated market value of about $278 million (about N194 billion).
FEC also reviewed the successes recorded by the agency between January and July 2022, under the leadership of its Chairman, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), during which it arrested over 18,940 suspects and secured 2,904 convictions in courts.
The development has raised the risk level of its personnel as targets of reprisal attacks by affected criminal rings.
Addressing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, Malami said: “Today, a memo was presented by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation; specifically, the Federal Ministry of Justice. The memo is related to a parastatal under the supervision of the Office of the Attorney General, which is the NDLEA.
“The purpose of the memo was to seek the approval of Council for the award of contract for the supply of four customised armoured security vehicles or 14-seater model vehicle for the NDLEA in favour of Devcom Integrity Services Limited and the contract sum of N580,500,000 only, inclusive of the 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). It has a delivery period of 16 weeks.
“It is common knowledge to all that in recent times, the NDLEA has been repositioned, and arising from the support, in terms of capacity building, hardware and associated things, they have recorded an extraordinary unprecedented success.
“Of recent and still fresh in our memory is a seizure of cocaine having a market value of about $278 million which, in Nigerian currency, translates to about N194 billion and in terms of volume is about 1.8 tonnes.
“So, with all these successes recorded, it is only logical that the criminals and criminal syndicates are now devising means, inclusive of attacks, on the personnel of the NDLEA.
“So, it is with that in mind that a memo was presented to FEC seeking approval of the Council for the procurement of armoured vehicles for the agency.”
Commenting on what the current administration has done differently to achieve so many successes in the fight against illicit drugs and substance trade and abuse, the minister said the Buhari administration had shown much more political will to achieve success in waging war against illicit drugs.
Malami said: “I think in every other thing, this government has demonstrated a capacity to do things differently, not only as it relates to the fight against drug abuse. I believe if you juxtapose the successes and progresses made by this government from 2015 to date, as against what obtained from 1999 to 2015, the difference is clear.
This is a government that within a period of, for example, from January 2022 to date, about N40 billion worth of drugs were confiscated, arising from the efforts of the government, the policy, the position and the political commitment demonstrated.”
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