Presidency slams Akeredolu over Indian hemp business
ONDO State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is not likely to find a willing ally in the Federal Government over his administration’s legal marijuana industry initiative planned for the state.
Despite the collaboration being received from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the governor has been disowned by the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA).
The global legal marijuana industry is reportedly primed to be a jumbo in years ahead and Ondo State is trying to think ahead of time, Akeredolu argued.
But the Mohammed Buba Marwa-led PACEDA, in a statement on Friday, stated that no amount of money could be worth the lives of those that would be affected should marijuana be legalised in the country, as being canvassed by Akeredolu and, by extension, NDLEA leadership.
Marwa, a retired military top brass, noted that the timing was so inauspicious, considering that the government had been doing everything to eradicate drug abuse in the country.
“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 firsthand 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 arms 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’s efforts at eliminating the menace of drug abuse rather than engaging in any counterproductive venture,” the PACEDA chairman said.