Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government has called for the establishment of an appropriate structure that would help tackle the issue of illicit drug in West Africa.
The leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – as part of its Drug Action Plan for 2016-2020, had recommended for the establishment of an appropriate structure that would be under the direct supervision of the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
Speaking at the 12th Ministerial Meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Drug Coordinating Committee of ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, which held in Abuja, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), called for the immediate implementation of the recommendation so as to tackle emerging drug threats in West Africa.
“The recommendation made in the Political Declaration to establish an appropriate structure under the direct supervision of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, is yet to be fully implemented. This should be noted for immediate implementation to check the emerging drug threats in the region”, he stated.
Represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substance, Ministry of Justice, Ahmadu Giade, the minister said that drug trafficking fuelled other organised crimes such as money laundering, terrorist financing, violence among others.
According to him, only through concerted efforts at all levels would the region be able to defeat the menace, disclosing that the government of Nigeria had already put measures in place to deal with the drug situation in the country.
“The human resource capacity of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has been strengthened to be able to address drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related crimes.
“To further demonstrate the President’s resolve to deal with the drug menace, the President has inuagurated the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, (PACEDA) on December 10, 2018”, he said.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, said the meeting was an opportunity to take stock of achievements made, challenges being faced and additional efforts required to address the issue of drug abuse in the region.
Brou, who was represented by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Siga Jagne, expressed confidence that the outcome of the meeting will serve as an impetus to redoubling efforts at the national, regional and international levels.