ABUJA – 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 Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the approval became important, considering NDLEA’s recent success stories and the possibility of targeted attacks on its personnel.
The Council also reviewed the successes recorded by the agency between January and July 2022, under the leadership of its current chairman, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (Rtd), during which period it had arrested over 18,940 suspects, including securing 2,904 convictions from the courts, a development that has built up the risk of its personnel being targets of reprisal attacks by affected criminal rings.
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 National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
“The purpose of the memo was to seek the approval of Council for the award of contract for the supply of 4 customized armored 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 Value Added Tax.
“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 extra ordinary unprecedented success.
“Of recent and still in our memory is a seizure of cocaine having a market value of about $278 million, which in Nigeria Naira translates to about N194 billion naira 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 syndicate 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 armored vehicles for the agency.
challenges being faced in all directions and in all respect,” he added.
Asked why the cocaine recently confiscated was destroyed by burning, especially when it would be needed as exhibit in court, he said “they were burnt because we are not drug dealers, our obligation is to ensure that they are eliminated and stopped from circulating in the system. There should be evidence and the evidence is there, accordingly profiled before being destroyed.
“Even the Chairman mentioned it, they retained a little to us in court, but destroyed most of it and was witnessed by the people that carried it. It was also in the news that was carried.
“Most of it was destroyed and I think somebody was saying that why should they destroy something worth N194 billion, but if government were to start trading that, we’ll become drug dealers as well. We cannot derive an economic benefit from it, but to destroy it, because you don’t want drugs circulating,” he said.
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