PACEDA Warns against Calls for Legalising Cannabis in Nigeria

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Olaoluwakitan Babatunde

The Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) has warned against any plan or advocacy to legalise the growing of cannabis in Nigeria for whatever purpose.

Chairman of the Committee, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd) who gave the warning yesterday in a statement, said such move will be counter productive at a time when the federal government is doing everything possible to eliminate the menace of drug abuse in the country.

According to him, “It is disturbing that at this time when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing cannabis, anyone or group will be considering or advocating for Nigeria to legalise the growing of marijuana for economic or whatever purposes. Our Committee has spent the last six months going round the country to obtain first hand information about the dangers of drug abuse and how to combat it, and we have been faced with the stark reality of how deep the menace has damaged and still damaging lives especially the youths.

“No doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about this emergency situation, hence the decision to set up PACEDA to find a lasting solution to the threat. We should not therefore fold our hands or keep sealed lips while deliberate attempts are being made to sabotage the genuine efforts of the federal government in the interest of the nation.

“We should not forget so soon how many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs were made prescription medicines when millions of our young minds and adults were abusing such. How can we then turn around to call for legalising growing of cannabis when the federal government is still in the process of curtailing and eliminating the same?  “We dare say that no economic gain is worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the street as a result of the effect of cannabis. There is therefore the need for all stakeholders, at the federal, state and local government levels, to rally round the federal government efforts at eliminating the menace of drug abuse rather than engaging in any counter productive venture.”

To build, maintain and transfer wealth to the next generation, emphasising that ill-health could limit the potential to create more wealth and “insurance is good financial planning to have for healthcare and to protect those assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire.”  This translates to better cost savings compared to paying out of pocket.