11th May, 2012
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has disclosed that it does not have the money needed to train about 2,000 of its recruits who are only engaged in drills for physical fitness as well as skeletal administrative duties in their states of origin.
“Salaries were approved for them while money to train them is not available,” NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju said this morning on telephone.
In a statement later, Ofoyeju said that the inability to train the recruited officers is a source of concern to NDLEA and a setback to the war against drug trafficking.
There are over 140 entry points into Nigeria and NDLEA officers are only present in less than 20 percent of them with staff strength of less than 5000 in 36 State Commands and 11 Special Area Commands.
The agency says it needs an additional 20,000 officers to be more effective in the war against drug trafficking.
NDLEA however refuted allegations that it handed over arms to the untrained officers, saying that it is against the ethics of their profession.
Ofoyeju said: “The NDLEA refutes allegations of allowing untrained recruits to bear fire arms.”
According to NDLEA, the Senate probe currently on is timely as it may right the wrongs by providing the needed funds to train the recruited officers.
“The inability to train the selected officers is a source of concern to the agency because the essence of their selection is still far-fetched. The recruits are only engaged in drills for physical fitness as well as skeletal administrative duties across the NDLEA formations,” Ofoyeju said.
He added: “We know the implications of engaging untrained personnel in operational duties. The decision to exclude them from active drug law enforcement is expedient.
“I can confidently tell you that they have no access to fire arms. They are underutilised but we are handicapped. It is also crucial to stress that their training is long overdue because they are expected to fill a vacuum which obviously still exists due to lack of training.
“Even with their addition, we cannot say it is total victory yet because the agency still requires about 20,000 more recruits to effectively fight the drug war.”
The Senate probe revealed that for the past four years, funds have not been given to NDLEA which as its hands full in the war against peddlers of illicit drugs.