One out of seven Nigerians use illicit drugs ― Marwa

• Partners information Ministry on campaign against illicit drugs • Illicit drugs, cash worth N75bn seized in three months• Partners information Ministry on campaign against illicit drugs • Illicit drugs, cash worth N75bn seized in three months

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and illicit use of drugs in the country.

This is just as the chairman of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd) said the statistics of illicit drug usage in Nigeria is horrifying, as one out of seven Nigerians uses it (illicit drugs).

While receiving the chairman of NDLEA in his office, on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said “the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will work with you to give maximum publicity to your activities, especially in the area of advocacy.

“To date, we have launched a number of national campaigns. It will not be a bad idea for the Ministry, working with the NDLEA, to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and the use of illicit drugs.

“I will also encourage the NDLEA to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which has set up Integrity Clubs in Secondary Schools nationwide, to reach the young ones with its campaign against drug use,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the war against illicit drugs and tackling drug trafficking is one of the most important tasks in Nigeria today, considering that drug trafficking, money laundering by traffickers and the use of illicit drugs are closely linked to the nation’s security, well being of the citizens, the moral fabric of the society and even governance.

“It is common knowledge that drug money can be used to finance insurgency and terrorism. A successful fight against drug trafficking will therefore help to deny or reduce funding for the insurgency.

“The kind of vicious banditry and kidnapping for ransom that our country has witnessed in recent times cannot be totally separated from illicit drug use and their effects on users who take to crime,” he said.

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The Minister said even governance is not spared from the drug scourge, as drug traffickers and money launderers contest and win elections into high offices where they help shape policies while noting that drug traffickers sometimes end up becoming role models in society, with devastating consequences for the young ones.

Alhaji Mohammed commended the NDLEA Chairman for recording impressive achievements in less than three months of his appointment, particularly in restoring the visibility of the Agency for local and international partnerships, boosting the morale and confidence of staffers, attracting international support and the ‘offensive action’ against drug cartels that has led to the arrest of 2,175 drug traffickers, seizure of 2,050,765.33 kilogrammes of illicit drugs as
well as cash and drug seizures worth N75 billion.

In his remarks, the NDLEA Chairman, Gen. Marwa (Rtd), said drug abuse has assumed an alarming proportion in Nigeria, which, he said, has about 15 million drug users between the age bracket of 15 and 64, 25 per cent of whom are females.

“Today Nigeria is faced with a major drug crisis, the statistics are horrifying when we said that there are approximately 15 million Nigerians using drugs within the age bracket of 15 to 64, which mean the real number could be up to 20 million, but from the survey within this age bracket is 15 million approximately.

“This means that one in seven Nigerians uses drugs, of this number, 25 per cent are female. This use of drugs in the country doesn’t have discrimination between gender or tribe or religion, it is all in our communities. It has destroyed our youths, women and families.

“In less than three months in the saddle, we have been able to make huge serious arrest and convictions, we have been able to seize drugs and cash worth over N75 billion, we have arrested over 2000 drug traffickers and seized over 2million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs, we have filed about 2000 cases in court and already we have about 329 convictions,” he said.

Gen. Marwa, who corroborated the Minister’s observation that drug abuse has been fueling insecurity in the country, said the agency had arrested two traffickers from the Niger Republic and Chad, who confessed to supplying illicit drugs to bandits.

He sought the collaboration of the ministry and its agencies to launch a nationwide public sensitisation on drug demand reduction drive through advocacy programmes in the media in order to curb drug abuse in the country.




One out of Seven Nigerians use illicit drugs

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