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Saraki urged stakeholders to take fight against drug abuse to borders

By Bertram Nwannekanma
23 February 2022   |   3:56 am
Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on government and other stakeholders to take the fight against drug abuse to the borders to cut off supply of illicit drugs into the country.

Saraki

Says Nigeria shouldn’t be W’Africa’s hub

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on government and other stakeholders to take the fight against drug abuse to the borders to cut off supply of illicit drugs into the country. 
   
Saraki, spoke at the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Northern Broadcasting Media Owners Association in Kano.
   
The former lawmaker, who spearheaded the 8th Senate’s 2017 Roundtable on  ‘Drug Use Crisis in Nigeria,’ stated that the country must adopt tougher measures to discourage those who want to turn the country into a drug hub in West Africa.
  
He said: “The government simply has to get a handle on the problem of ‘supply reduction’ as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) calls it.

“This must first and foremost start with our porous borders. Since our drug problem and our insecurity problem are indeed interlinked and we certainly do not want to become the drugs hub of West Africa, combating drug abuse and drug trafficking in the North must go hand in hand with combating banditry.

“Without customers, no bandit-dealers, with no dealers, no customers.”
 
Saraki, who was represented by former Speaker of Kwara State House of the Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, also called for stricter enforcement of The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) regulations, on the use of prescriptions for certain classes of drugs, while also calling on the media to play a central role in sensitising the public about the dangers of drug abuse.
  
He emphasised that with 14.4 per cent of Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 on drugs, it is important that leaders across the nation develop the necessary political will to adopt sustainable solutions to combat the drug use crisis.

   
He said: “Today, possibly triggered by the legislative work done by the Eighth Senate, when, as some of you may remember, on December 18, 2017, we convened a roundtable dialogue on the Drug Use Crisis in Nigeria, here in Kano, some pharmaceutical companies have been closed to stop illicit production, but the problem persists.

“To be frank, the media can play a major role. You can support, if not drive, both ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ reduction. I believe the following three areas are all-natural fits:
 
“First, you can play a strong role in awareness-building. Who is better suited than the media to describe the epidemic as just that, and do not let it drop out of the headlines? Likewise, I would imagine this could be supported in particular by highlighting the human interest side. This would ultimately dovetail with campaigns advocating for our state governors to assist in providing more treatment facilities, outreach, and public education. Today, most government health facilities are not staffed and equipped for treatment and care for people with drug use disorders.
 
“Second, the media is ideally placed to “name and shame”.
 
“Third, you could champion an Anti-Drugs Crusade. For example, by ‘de-glamourising’ those video clips where showbiz kids get stoked up on whatever substances. By linking such activities to the downside of drug abuse. At the same time, you could, and rightly, glamorise the actions of NDLEA, NAFDAC, border patrols – because those are the heroes protecting us.”

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