Marwa decries consumption of 10 million illicit drugs in Nigeria
Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. General Mohammed Marwa (retd), yesterday, decried the situation where 10.6 million Nigerians are consuming Cannabis sativa and other illicit drugs, which is the highest in the world.
Marwa who spoke at 40th Olumide Memorial Lecture on “Dangers of Illicit Substances to National Development’’, in Abuja, said those who abused cannabis here are more than the population of Portugal, or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He said: “ What is worse, our country’s drug use prevalence of 14.4 per cent is one of the highest in the world compared to the global average of 5.6 per cent, and there is a connection between illicit drugs and crime and insecurity.
“The camps of insurgents and bandits cleared by troops are always littered with illicit drugs, ranging from cannabis to pharmaceutical opioids and other controlled drugs like pentazocine. Rescued hostages testified how the abductors used them.
“We will also remember that one of the fugitives recaptured by NDLEA operatives after escaping from the Kuje Correctional facility was caught with rolls of cannabis, just three days after the jailbreak.
”These instances proved that there is a connection between the abuse of psychoactive drugs and criminal actions. Illicit drugs are catalysts to crime and have been one of the contributing factors to Nigeria’s unending insecurity.”
On how the government was responding to the menace, he said, in the past 20 months, the leadership, men and officers of the Agency have been working to shut down Nigeria’s illicit drug complex.
“We have located and dismantled two clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in Lagos and Anambra states. Our offensive against cannabis continues unabated. We seized 2, 139. 55 kilogrammes of cocaine in Ikorodu.
Similarly, we have arrested over 19, 000 traffickers with over 3,000 sentenced to jail within 20 months. We equally seized over 5.4 million kilograms of illicit substances and destroyed over 714 hectares of cannabis farms across six states.
He therefore stressed, “We have commissioned a 24/7 drug abuse call centre and are also working on increasing the rehabilitation centres in the country. In the same vein, we are training lots of stakeholders on Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC).”
MEANWHILE, the President, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Dr. Kayode Oluwamotemi described the late Surveyor. C.T. Olumide as a leader who stood for principle, dignity and integrity, sacrificing for the good of the majority of the Nigerian people.
Oluwamotemi urged the members to put aside sentiments and self-interests to rebuild bridges and mend fences, saying, at this time of economic challenges, members should strive to make surveying profession a household name.