The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari, on Saturday, 26th June 2021, addressed the dangers the trafficking and abuse of drugs has on the safety and security of Nigeria. President Buhari stated that the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking is much more harmful than the insurgency and banditry currently wrecking havoc across the country.
The president called on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to become proactive and step up against the fight against the menace that is drug abuse. Buhari declared drug abuse an epidemic as the fight against it has now spanned three generations. This is just as the the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has disclosed that within the last five months, no fewer than 2,180 suspected traffickers including five drug barons had been nabbed across the country. He called on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to step up the fight against drugs use by destroying production sites and laboratories, breaking supply chain, discouraging usage while also prosecuting offenders and traffickers.
President Buhari spoke at the State House yesterday during the launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), an initiative of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The event was held in commemoration of the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, with the theme, ‘Share Facts on Drugs. Save Lives.’
The president, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, also directed the NDLEA to rid the vast forests of the Southwest and South-south regions of criminal elements, who had turned the areas into land for cultivation of marijuana and hideouts, from where they launch onslaughts.
“I want to particularly draw the attention of the agency to the fact that the use of many of our forests as criminal hideouts is because large swathes of cannabis plantations are hidden deep within those forests, especially, in the Southwest and the South-South.
“You may, therefore, need to drive these criminal elements from such hideouts, because they use it for the growth of these plants and also as a repository for criminal elements to conclude and plan their adventures on our people”.
According to him, it is a war that is destroying three generations, because there were clips of some grandparents on drugs, parents on drugs, and by extension, their wards and children had also taken to drugs.
“So, this is a war that is targeting three generations in a stretch. So, it is more deadly than even the security challenges that we are having in this country and I believe strongly that every effort must be put in place to ensure that we deal with the issues of substance abuse and trafficking and manufacture so that we can get to the root cause of the mirage of insecurity problems that are confronting this nation and I believe strongly, with every bit of conviction, that if we are able to deal with the issues of drug abuse, substantially, our security challenges will drastically reduce as we walk towards a drug free, Nigeria”.
The President called on families, schools, civil society organizations, professional associations, religious organizations, the academia, community leaders and individuals to work for the common good in order to rid communities of drug use and trafficking.
He promised to continue to address underlying causes of drug abuse, including poverty reduction, while also expressing appreciation to stakeholders and international collaborators, especially the European Union, and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Control, for their unwavering support to Nigeria’s drug control efforts. “Also appreciated are the members of the inter-ministerial committee on drug control, civil society organizations, the academia, for their contributions and efforts to our National Drug Control initiatives.”