Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd) has expressed regret that the drugs abuse situation in the country is so bad that criminal elements especially kidnappers and armed bandits now ask for payment of ransoms in drugs.
Consequently, he warned that unless the nation gets to the root cause of the menace, we will only be scorching at the surface as the criminalities will continue to flourish.
Gen Marwa made this known in Abuja at the inauguration of the Special Purpose Committee of the NDLEA comprising 33 members and observers Dawn from the Academia, Civil Society Practitioners in Drugs Rehabilitation, Medical Professionals, Youth, Women Groups, Religious Bodies and Public Advocacy Groups among others.
He said, “The use of drugs in Nigeria is getting to epidemic proportions with about 15 million approximately, nearly thrice the global prevalence.
“Unfortunately, drug use does not show in the face, so you won’t know if your next-door neighbour is doing drugs.
“However, we all know somebody or someone who knows somebody doing drugs.
“No wonder we have so much criminality everywhere in our land. And it is increasing instead of abating, starting with kidnapping, insurgency, banditry (North West), then moving to Niger. Now it has upgraded to rape and assassinations.
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“Behind it all is drug use. Criminals all use drugs, even kidnappers now ask for ransom in drugs.
“Unless we get to this root cause, we will only be scorching at the surface as the criminalities will continue to flourish.
“I should also add that criminalities involve selling of drugs to fund their nefarious activities.
“It is for this reason that President Mohammadu Buhari inaugurated PACEDA in 2018, with the mandate to bring to him recommendations on how best to tackle and eliminate the drug scourge within the shortest possible time.
Emphasizing that “No President before him (Buhari) has shown so much passion in the drug scourge” Marwa said, “I should take this opportunity to recognise the interventional efforts of our esteemed First Lady, Dr Aisha Buhari towards the creation of PACEDA and her personal participation in PACEDA and that of the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Osinbajo who also has demonstrated commitment and zeal.
“Today I am deployed to serve with the patriotic officers and men of the NDLEA, the lead Agency for controlling, coordinating and taking charge of the war against drugs throughout Nigeria.
“The fight cannot be ours to fight alone. It must be a collective fight.
“We need the collaboration of every segment of the Nigeria society. The Committee being inaugurated today is the first step in involving our society in this fight.
“With your membership coming entirely from outside the Agency, you will serve as our Think Tank.
“You will be involved in public policy discourse on drugs with us in the NDLEA, you will help us with advice and suggestions and may even participate in the implementation of some of your own suggestions as situation warrants.
“Of course, you are an internal mechanism of NDLEA and will not speak for the Agency. Your job will be to support us quietly, internally as our advisory partners and Think Tank.”
Coordinator of the Special Purpose Committee, Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho, assured that the committee will help in the turn around being witnessed at NDLEA under the headship of General Buba Marwa.