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Nigeria’s Attorney General Says Nation’s Drug Agency Arrested 18,940, Confiscated Over N40bn Worth Of Drugs In 2022

OSAS EMMANUEL

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that within the last three quarters of 2022, no fewer than 18,940 drug related arrests were made with over N40 billion worth of drugs confiscated.

Malami disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

He said that following the renewed and sustained onslaught on drug cartels and barons, 2,904 convictions were recorded within the period.

Malami said that the onslaught on drug cartels brought about unprecedented threats and attacks on personnel, officers, men and other ranks of the agency which necessitated the federal government to consider the possibility of taking security measures that will now provide the desired protection to the officers and men of the agency.

Speaking further, he disclosed that the FEC graciously approved the contract for the construction of 100 flats barracks for the personal and officers of the agency.

“What was presented today by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was a council memo at the instance or the NDLEA – national drugs law enforcement agency.

“As you are aware, there has been renewed and sustained onslaught against drug cartels and barons over time. Within the three quarters of 2023 about 18,940 arrest were affected by the NDLEA and indeed drugs the estimated value of which is over N40 billion where confiscated.

“Again, about 2904 convictions were recorded. These successes recorded unfortunately, translated to unprecedented threats and attacks on personnel, officers, men and other ranks of the agency and then the need has arisen for the federal government to consider the possibility of taking security measures that will now provide the desired protection to the officers and men of the commission.

“So with that in mind, what was presented before the Federal Executive Council today is a memo seeking approval for the award of contract for the construction of barracks accommodation for personnel of the drug law enforcement agency.

“Accordingly, two contracts were awarded and the companies that were awarded the contract Whitchino Engineering Limited, it was awarded the contract for the construction of accommodation for narcotics superintendents and narcotic assistant blocks, each consisting six numbers of three bedroom, semi detached flats, 12 flats, and five blocks each, consisting 16 Number one bedroom terraces plots, 80 plots total 92 plots at the cost of N2,267,785,450. 83 and the second contract was awarded to JP sigma Nigeria limited in the sum of 2,889,480,320 .55 and they are to construct accommodation for narcotics for superintendents and narcotics agents, two blocks each consistent six numbers, three bedroom, semi detached plots, 12 flats and 11 blocks, each consisting eight numbers two bedrooms, semi detached plots 89 plots total 12 plus 88 which makes 100 flats. So the Council memo was taken and it was accordingly approved by the Council.”

Also, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, has said that no fewer than 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat from have been ordered by the federal government from Ukraine.

He also disclosed that beyond the wheat import, Nigeria is also expecting an unspecified quantity of potassium from Russia, which is a bye product for production of fertiliser in Nigeria.

While the wheat from Ukraine is currently sea borne, the Minister revealed that talks between Russia and the Nigerian government on the importation of potassium is still ongoing.

According to Mohammad, the ship carrying the wheat is expected to berth in Portharcourt from where it would be distributed across Nigeria and neigbouring African countries.

He explained that Nigeria may become a hub for accessing the wheat, especially with strained relationship between Ukraine and Russia.

Asked why the country is patronizing the two war torn countries, Mohammad maintained that Nigeria has a neutral policy, hence can do business with any country it deems necessary.

Beyond this, FEC deliberated on a memo on national revised seed policy, a move he said was aimed at boosting agricultural productivity in the country.

He said there were plans to inject Genetically Modified Organism GMO seeds into the national food chain to produce enough food to meet the teaming population growth.

“The Federal Minister of Agriculture, rural development presented a memo today on our revised 2022 National Agricultural Seed Policy.

“Before now we have been operating on the 2010 policy, which was revised in 2015. And we just also revised that again to the 2022. Why the revision?

“For seeds, what you plant is what you reap. With the current continuous development in technology, seeds are always being upgraded standardize four to five with several vitamins. There’s also the issue of genetically modified organisms or seeds, if you will.

“So, this revision, seek to confirm with global best practice in yield.

Our farmers must have access to best quality seeds that have been fortified, seed that can produce the yield that will be worth their while, seeds that can produce again, the produce that come can compete in the world market. This is the basis for this particular policy.

“The implementing agency is the National Agricultural Seed Council of Nigeria. The same agency works with the department within the Ministry, also work with other agencies and MDAs that are also involved in some ways with agriculture, work with civil society organization, international agencies.

“Nigeria every year holds summit that we call Seed Connect. This is an international summit that discusses and focus on improvement development in seeds from around the globe. So seeds is really very important, very critical, as you all know, the agric sector from a great part of the GDP of this country and all that we focus on smallholder farmers,” he told reporters.

On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo said that two memoranda were presented on behalf of the Ministry to the counsel on behalf of two of its agencies.

“The first agency was the Nigerian ports authority which sought to provide for the award of contract for the construction and supply of for customised Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims.

“For Rivers ports, Port Harcourt, Lagos port complex, Tin Can Island port and Marina headquarters all in Lagos Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended. And reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement in the sum of N510,934,600 million inclusive of seven and a half percent vat with a completion period of nine months in favour of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited.

“They second memorandum presented by the Ministry was on behalf of the ministry itself but for the Ultimates management by the Nigerian railway cooperation.

“The memorandum sought counsel, consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rollingstock operation and maintenance equipment for Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.

“The contract was awarded to Messers  Motor Engine Nigeria limited who are the contractors handling this particular projects in the sum of $984,722,302.05 inclusive of seven and a half percent verse with a completion period of four years.”

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