By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Presidential Advisory Committee for Elimination of Drug Abuse, Retired General Buba Marwa has said the war against drug abuse will soon be launched in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated this in his address at the commemoration of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking National Conference at Transcorp Hillton Abuja, celebrated every 26th June of every year with the Theme: “Health for Justice, Justice for Health” to address the broad issues.
According to Retired General Marwa, any persons, groups or organizations that stand on the way to eliminate drug abuse will be crushed.
He said the drug abuse in Nigeria can, and will be dissolved, noting that there would be treatments, rehabilitation and skills for abusers to enable them be decent members of their families, communities and the society.
Speaking, the special guest of honour, Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hajiya Aisha Buhari stressed her dismay that the challenges of drug abuse that has manifested in the Northern part of the country has been a concern for her.
Represented by Her Excellence, Wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo, Hajiya AishA Buhari described drug abuse as a moster with many heads like the mythological character of Medusa, saying the problem is extremely dangerous which its venom have attacked, wounded and killed many of Nigerians.
While in his welcome address, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said report that Nigeria is no longer a transit country for cocaine and heroin but produces methamphetamine with 16 clandestine laboratories already discovered, are the reason for the position that it need to do more to address the scourge of drug trafficking and abuse.
Retired Colonel Abdullah was of the opinion that the tramadol crisis that engulfed the Nation leading to the seizure last year of about 1 billion pills and tables dosages between 120mg and 400mg is another reason for concern in Nigeria.
He said the theme presupposed that effective responses to the challenges of drugs required inclusive and accountable institutions of criminal justice, health and social services to work hand-in-hand to provide integrated solutions in line with the international drug control conventions, human rights obligations and Sustainable Development Goals.
According to him, the Agency has been in the forefront of the commemoration of the Day which it has used to highlight the dangers of drug use, the illegal drug trade, provide educational material to stakeholders all over Nigeria and amplify the message about the extreme cultural and economic harm the trade in drugs is still doing across the globe.
The NDLEA Chairman opined that the Agency has also used the occasion to sensitized government at all levels to intensify their efforts at combating both drug demand and supply and improve access to treatment for addicts, pointing out that the event could not come at a better time than now that the country is confronted with the challenges of drug used and trafficking which has become pervasive in most part of the country.
“This year’s commemoration comes with a different theme unlike in the last three years that carried a repetitive theme. The theme for this year is “Health for Justice, Justice for Health”. The theme is to address three broad issues such as Drug dependent persons having access to the treatment they need, Connecting drug prevention, social inclusion and protection and Building knowledge for justice and health.
“The tramadol crisis that engulfed the Nation leading to the seizure last year of about 1 billion pills and tables dosages between 120mg and 400mg is another reason for concern in Nigeria. Let me quickly acknowledged the assistance of the UNDODC in facilitating a sub-regional conference in West Africa on the Tramadol crisis in August last year and for sponsoring our officers and other stakeholders to India to disuses the issue f tramadol smuggling into Nigeria.
“The effect of the multilateral efforts is yielding good results in reducing tramadol smuggling into Nigeria. In the light of the above that l considers the re-awakening among some of our stakeholders an epochal development.
Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s programme is in partnership with MTN through MTN Foundation. MTN in realizing of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has since the beginning of 2019 engaged in drug prevention education and sensitization programmes across the country.
“We equally feel emboldened by the swift and bond political decision of President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up the Presidential Advisory Committee for Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) headed by Retired General Buba Marwa which has worked tirelessly in the interest of the nation.
“Let me also seized the opportunity to appreciate and thank President Buhari for approving the immediate recruitment in 2019 of five thousand new personnel out of the fifteen thousand earlier approved for the Agency in 2016. I wish to thank our international collaboration for standing in the gap in many areas of our operations” Rtd. Col. Abdallah ended