Presidential committee on elimination of drug abuse begins nationwide probe
As part of efforts to meet its mandate, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) is currently on fact-finding and advocacy visit to the South West zone.
The committee is an initiative of Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, wife of the President.
The terms of reference of PACEDA are to: examine and understand the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in the fight against drug abuse; ascertain the extent to which each stakeholder has been able to play its roles; propose a working arrangement or framework for effective implementation of drug abuse related activities in accelerated manner; and make recommendations to the Federal Government on sustainability of interventions needed to eliminate drug abuse in Nigeria.
The United Nations Office on Drug Control (UNODC), who is also a member of the committee, just released report of a national survey and the gory statistics of the severity and prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria is mind-boggling.
The survey showed that Nigeria has a national average of 14.4 per cent prevalence of drug abuse, which almost triples the world average of 5.6 per cent. In Nigeria Lagos State has the highest figure of 33 per cent followed by Oyo State with 22 per cent and the implication of this is that Nigeria is literally sitting on a keg of gun powder and this why the setting up of PACEDA is timely and president Buhari must be commended for taking the bull by the horn.
A member of the committee and Director of Public Affairs at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, told journalists yesterday that the combined forces of the launch of War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), Youth Against Drug Abuse (YADA) and several interventions by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), United Nations Office on Drug Control (UNODC) and other agencies will surely lead to accelerated elimination of the growing monster of drug abuse in Nigeria.
Jimoh said the committee is currently on that finding and advocacy visits to all the geo-political zones in the country.
He said the drug abuse menace is to all intents and purposes hydra-headed but it is not insurmountable considering the star-studded composition of the committee headed by the former Military Administrator of Lagos and Borno States, General Muhammed Buba Marwa. “General Marwa’s antecedents in Lagos with his operation SWEEP and successful military career are strong pointers to the fact that PACEDA is a serious minded and achievement oriented Committee whose work will not be consigned to the dustbin of history. Like her Excellency, Dr. Aisha Buhari rightly pointed out when the committee was being put together, ‘Myself and Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo’s membership of this committee will send a strong signal to Nigerians that the present administration is determined to win the war against drug abuse’,” he said.
Jimoh added: “I am very happy that General Marwa had already accepted the gauntlet with the proposed launch of WADA which will further amplify and accentuate the YADA programme launched last December, in Kano State by Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye…”