Why Nigerians must fight against drug abuse now, by Marwa
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd), has urged Nigerians to take ownership of the renewed fight against drug abuse in the country.
He gave the charge, yesterday, during the inauguration of a “Special Purpose Committee” of the NDLEA to mobilise the civil society to get actively involved in the fight against drug abuse, peddling and trafficking in Abuja.
“Today, I am deployed to serve with the patriotic officers and men of the NDLEA, the lead agency for controlling, coordinating and taking charge of the war against drugs throughout Nigeria. The fight cannot be ours to fight alone. It must be a collective fight. We need the collaboration of every segment of Nigerian society.
“The committee being inaugurated today is the first step in involving our society in this fight. With your membership coming entirely from outside the agency, you will serve as our Think Tank. You will be involved in public policy discourse on drugs with us in the NDLEA, you will help us with advice and suggestions and may even participate in the implementation of some of your own suggestions if the situation warrants,” Marwa said.
According to the former military administrator of Lagos State, the need to involve all Nigerians in the fight has become more expedient because of the great danger the problem of drug abuse poses to society and the country at large.
He said: “Assembled here today – academic, civil society practitioners in drug rehabilitation, medical professionals, youth, women groups representatives, media, public advocacy groups, religious bodies and more, one passion connects us all; a passion to eliminate drug use from families, streets, communities, public places and, in short, Nigeria as a whole.
“Use of drugs in Nigeria today is at an epidemic proportion of approximately 15million, nearly three times global prevalence. No wonder so much criminality everywhere in our land and it is increasing instead of abating with such symptoms as kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, rape, and assassinations. Behind it all is drug use. Criminals now ask for ransom in drugs and unless we get to the root cause, we will only be scratching the surface, and the criminalities will continue to flourish.
“Unfortunately drug use does not show in the face, but we all know somebody or someone who knows somebody doing drugs and that is why we all need to come together as Nigerians to fight the menace.”
He said it was in realisation of these problems that President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee for Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA in 2018, with the mandate to bring to him recommendations on how best to tackle and eliminate the drug scourge within the shortest possible time.