Ugo Aliogo and Joan Madubugwu
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, has called for improved funding and logistics support for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to win the war against drug trafficking. He alsourged the public to provide useful information on activities of drug trafficking organisations in their communities.
The Oba made this known at the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking by the resolution 42/112 of the United Nations General Assembly in Lagos recently.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, also said the Ministry is committed to the fight against drug trafficking and abuse, adding that government would continue to support initiatives aimed at minimising drug abuse.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah, said that the country remained committed to the dislodgement of criminal syndicates who view Nigeria and other West Africa countries as a potential destination for the illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse.
Abdallah said the International Day against Drugs afforded the agency the opportunity to continue the fight to provide a drug free environment.
The NDLEA Chairman, who was represented by the Director General of the Agency, Mrs. Roli Bode-George, stressed that the country had maintained a rising drug control profile through capacity building and unwavering sense of obligation, “we will work with stakeholders in ensuring a healthy and drug-free society.”
“As we mark this important day, stakeholders must review drug control strategies aimed at ensuring a safer environment. Moving forward, we must determine the effectiveness of existing measures. The adequacy of allocated resources to drug control, effectiveness of public enlightenment on dangers of drugs and what areas should be given priority attention in terms of policy change and reinforcement,” he noted.
He called on parents to strengthen the bond between them and their children, adding that the theme is a clarion call on parents to carry out a self-appraisal on the relationship with their children and amend observed gaps.
He further urged parents, and leaders to continually interact with youths, stressing that this would help them to build positive attitudes and relevant skills needed to prevent drug abuse alongside other social vices that could pose a threat to societal peace.
Furthermore, he said: “Listening to children and youths is the first step in bonding with them to grow healthy and safe. As children advance through adolescence, they explore their environment and discover their unique potentials and capabilities. In the process, they are exposed to challenges of drug use, violence and radicalisation if not properly guided. Many youths have been negatively influenced by peer pressure, poverty, exposure to violence, ignorance and absence of supporting parenting.
“Drug use often begins as a way to seek recreation but the addictive properties of drugs soon make people dependent. This compulsion is uncontrollable and may interfere with the individual’s everyday life. Some of the effects of drug use include paranoia, psychosis, immune deficiencies, organ damage, dropping out of school, loss of job, unfulfilled dreams and premature death to mention a few.
“An estimated 246 million people across the globe, that is 1 out of 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64 years were reported to have used an illicit drug in 2013 by the World Drug Report 2015. It was equally reported that 1 out of 10 drug users about 27 million people, or almost the entire population of a country like Ghana or Mozambique are problem drug users suffering from drug use disorders. Almost half of this number about 12.19 million inject drugs while 1.6 million of those who inject drugs are HIV positive. Above all, about 187,000 drug related deaths also took place in 2013.”