Rallies ICM for support

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said plans are in top gear to amend some of its laws that provides for option of fines for drug offenders.

The move to deter people engaged in the use of narcotics was disclosed by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen, Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), at the Institute of Change Management(ICM) annual dinner with the topic ‘’ Drug Abuse In Nigeria: Changing the Narrative’’ held in Lagos at the weekend.

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Marwa who was represented by the  Director, Seaport Operation, Mrs. Omolade Faboyede, said some of the laws as contained in the Act setting up the agency are obsolete and also makes provision for option of fines for offenders.

‘’It is worrisome that we have some of our officers lose their lives in the course of battling with drug traffickers. But at the end of the day, some of these offenders when taken to court are just fined and they later return to the same business. This is a worrisome trend that we are trying to correct in other to make the punishment stiffer,’’

The NDLEA boss said some of the drugs offenders after being charged to court are let off the hook and fined, saying some of these offenders come back to the society and continue in the act of drug use or business.

A worried Marwa said without mincing words, the drug problem of Nigeria is massive, adding that the National Drug Use Survey 2018 indicated that 14.3 million Nigerians representing 14.4 per cent of the country’s population used psychoactive substances aside from alcohol.

On changing the country’s drug abuse narrative, Marwa said this requires that all hands must be on deck to ensure that we do things differently.

‘‘As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), i had a clear view of the situation and what should be done to reverse the trend.

Basically, we have to shut down the pipeline. That is, take the traffickers and their barons out of the picture. We have to embark on an aggressive drug supply reduction campaign,’’.

The NDLEA boss noted that while arrests and seizures are the highlights of its activities, it is however seeking a permanent and far-reaching change, namely a change in society’s attitude towards drug use, abuse and trafficking.

‘‘It is to this end that we launched the War Against Drug Abuse(WADA) campaign which is meant to, in the long run, help prevent the entrenchment of drug abuse culture among young people in the society,’’.

He however urged the leadership and members of ICM as well as others to join the WADA team by spreading the message against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking; that should part of the change ICM should henceforth preach.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman and President of ICM, Mr. Nathaniel Osewele, said the choice of the topic was informed by the need to further deepen the discourse on the increasing wave of misuse and abuse of hard drugs in the society, especially among the youths.

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