Rivers State Government has said it will work with Nigeria’s anti-drug agency the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in the State.
State Governor, Nyesom Wike gave the assurance when he received on courtesy visit the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
The Governor said that often, people think that the fight against criminality in the country should be targeted only at bandits and kidnappers with less attention paid to the root causes of such crimes, which is the use of illicit drugs.
He pointed out that if concerted efforts are made towards achieving a reduction in the level of illicit drug intake in society, there is the possibility that the crime rate would also reduce.
“It’s most unfortunate that people think that fighting crime is only when you fight bandits and kidnappers. But, nobody wants to understand the root cause of most of these crimes”, the governor stated.
He added that those who engage in criminal acts such as rape and kidnapping, often do so under the influence of the illicit hard drug. According to him, if the conscientious effort is made to reduce the level of intake of illicit drug in society, it will also lead to a reduction in the crime rate.
Wike explained that there was a need to look at the fight against criminality holistically across the country with equal attention given to both drug influence and the crime perpetrators.
He said; “Any government worth its salt would not hesitate to support the agency in order to tackle the issue of the drug.
“For choosing Rivers State first as your first point of the call shows how you take the state and remembering that this is where your career started after your graduation from the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA).
“As for the rehabilitation centre, we will work that out with the Commander in the State, to see how we can set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in the state. We will also give you three Hilux Vans immediately to enhance the performance of the agency.”
Wike decried the state of most institutions and agencies established by the Federal Government that are not provided with requisite working tools to enable them to perform their statutory functions.
According to him, when such institutions and agencies do not have the basic tools, there is no magic to be done by them in achieving the mandate for which they were established.
In his speech, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd.) said after he assumed office five weeks ago, the agency had gone all out to deal with the reduction of drugs supply across the country.
He stated that there was too much criminality in Nigeria with insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and rape being caused by perpetrators under the use of drugs.
“Behind most of this criminality is the use of drugs. Unfortunately, this is one thing that does not distinguish between communities, ethnicity, religion, age or gender.
“The prevalence in Rivers State, actually, is 15 per cent. That is from the drug survey of the UNODC that was released recently. But it is not the worse, in fact, it is placed 14 in the country.
“But a state like Lagos has a prevalence of 33 per cent. That, actually, means one out of every three Lagosians between the ages of 15 and 64 is taking something. That is terrible for a country such as ours. Concerted efforts are required to deal with it”, the NDLEA boss said.
He appealed to the Governor to consider setting up a drug rehabilitation centre and a State drug control committee.
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