By Joy Odor
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said the agency is pressing on with its offensive action against illicit drugs’ production laboratories and farms because of the threat they pose to Nigeria’s national security.
Gen. Marwa stated this in his presentation on the national drug control master plan at a side event at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs conference taking place in Vienna, Austria.
According to him, “Nigeria was traditionally considered a transit country for drug trafficking.
Now the problem is much bigger as different categories of drugs are produced, consumed and trafficked in the country.
Drugs trafficked include cannabis, cocaine, heroin and psychotropic substances including methamphetamine and tramadol.
Cannabis is cultivated in different parts of the country and there is evidence of methamphetamine producing laboratories.
NDLEA has destroyed thousands of hectares of cannabis cultivated land as well as 18 methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories.”
He said a situation where the drug use prevalence in Nigeria is 14.4 % is unacceptable and as such every necessary step must be taken to reverse the trend.
“The drug use prevalence in Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years is approximately 15 percent and it is three times the global drug use prevalence of 5.5 per cent.
Cannabis used by 10.6 million Nigerians is the most common used drug followed by opioids with 4.6 million including tramadol.
This is in addition to the fact that 1 in every 4 individuals using drugs is a woman and 1 in 5 who had used drug in the past year is suffering from drug user disorder”, he explained based on a UNODC survey report.
He said NDLEA remains committed as Nigeria’s premier drug control agency with the mandate to “provide effective and efficient services to Nigerians by cutting off the supply of and reducing the demand for illicit drugs and other substances of abuse, tracing and recovering drug related proceeds, and contributing to the creation and maintenance of an enviable image for the nation within the global community.
Explaining the essence of the National Drug Control Master Plan, NDCMP, the NDLEA boss said it “is comprehensive and balanced as it focuses on drugs not only from law-and-order perspectives but also as a public health and education issue.
It provides balanced solutions to issues of drug demand and supply, and ensures access to controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes.”
“In developing the NDCMP 2021 -2025, effort was made to ensure that the document is aligned and harmonized with the existing international and regional conventions.
It also benefitted from lessons learned from earlier phases of NDCMP, and good practices from Nigeria, West Africa and around the world.
The NDCMP also contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-3 to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’, to ‘strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”, he added.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
15th April, 2021