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…Say Drug Abuse Fuels Kidnapping, Banditry, Terrorism, Other Crimes

Ekiti State First Lady, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji and NDLEA Chairman, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.) at the forum

First Ladies of the 36 States of the Federation have resolved to step up the fight against drug abuse among the youths to prevent their future from being destroyed by the scourge.

Acting under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses’ Forum, they expressed concern over the increasing drug use amongst the youth population and adults, particularly in homes, secondary schools, and tertiary institutions.

Apparently concerned with the upsurge in the use, sale and trafficking of illicit drugs in Nigeria, the first ladies, therefore called on the Federal Government and state Governors to declare state of emergency on illicit drug use and trafficking pandemic with a view to mobilizing resources to tackling it.

They noted that the consequential impact of drug abuse on public health, national security and economy is very grave advocating the need for concerted efforts of all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to reverse the scourge.

The resolution was reached at a two-day training session of the Forum on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) held at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja.

According to a communique endorsed by all the 36 state first ladies which was signed by their chairperson, Prof. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, they acknowledged the need to foster good parenting through parents teachers association, community outreach programmes and to support the NDLEA Drug Integrity Test Policy for early detection of drug users.

The wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, who gave the communique to the press in Ado Ekiti was one of the participants at the training programme which was attended by the NDLEA Chairman, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.); representatives of international organizations and other stakeholders.

The Governors’ spouses recognized the nexus between drug use and the heightened level of criminality, the increasing number of school dropouts, social and health issues, family problems including violent extremism, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, and its impact on food security, safety of lives and property, foreign direct investment, the economy and national security.

They acknowledged urgent need to take control of and reinvigorate State Drug Control Committees (SDCCs) for optimal functioning for the States that have one, and encourage States that do not have to constitute one, to increase rehabilitation programmes that focuses on holistic recovery.

It was also resolved at the forum that there is need to support the building of at least three standard drug rehabilitation centres, one in each senatorial zone of the States to cater for drug users within the states and reduce the challenges of costs, access and stigma to drug treatment.

They equally adopted the Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) programmes in States as Forum project, and to be chaired by the first ladies of the States, to help curb the menace of drug use and fostering greater access to treatment for women who use drugs by reducing stigmatization and cultural pushback.

The first ladies realized the need to create skill acquisition centres and employment opportunities for young people to reduce being lured into drug use and trafficking and to also adopt projects and policies that foster cooperation with private sector and civil society organizations in the development of standardized treatment centres.

They agreed to work as a body and facilitator towards strengthening collaboration and cooperation between state governments, NDLEA and other security agencies in the fight against drug use and trafficking.

Posted in Ekiti State News Bulletin
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