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Published On: Wed, Jun 26th, 2013

World Drug Day: Adoke, Tambuwal, Stakeholders Call for Crack Down on Drug Barons

By Oghenekevwe Laba
LAGOS JUNE 26TH (URHOBOTODAY) The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and stakeholders have called for intense and persistent attacks on drug trafficking cartels in the country. This was the submission of guests at the 2013 international day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking held by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Women Development Centre, Abuja.
Honourable Jagaba Adams Jagaba, House of Representative Committee Chairman on Narcotic Drugs and Financial Crime called for improved funding for the NDLEA to effectively discharge its functions. In his words, “drug production, trafficking and abuse are responsible for crimes like terrorism, armed robbery and violence that subject humanity to untold suffering and pain. It is therefore logical that funds be made available to the Agency to perform”. He pledged to support the Agency through quality legislation.
The United Nations adopted June 26 of every year as world drug day through resolution 42/112 of December 7, 1987. The theme of the event is New Psychoactive Substances with the slogan; “Make Health Your ‘New High’ In Life Not Drugs”. In Nigeria, the day was marked in all the States including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade in his welcome address urged participants to look beyond the festivities and imbibe the fundamental objectives for the annual commemoration which centres on a collective drive for a drug-free society.
“We have made the commemoration to transcend beyond mere pomp and pageantry. The past one week has witnessed various anti-drug abuse education programmes with the active participation of stakeholders. Our community mobilisation initiatives include anti-drug rally, children talk show and drama competition, public education on the dangers inherent in drug production, trafficking and abuse among many others” Giade stated.
Honourable Minister of Justice who was the chief host at the event said that government will provide the NDLEA with the needed support to operate optimally. “The huge resources derived from illicit drug trade cannot be ignored because criminals can undermine governments and economies with such proceeds. Illicit drug activities of cartels must therefore be stopped in the interest of public peace and security. Government will therefore ensure that the Agency has what it needs to operate optimally,” Adoke said.
The Minister who was represented by his special assistant Chibueze Okorie expressed concern about report that some children start abusing drug as early as age 10. “The various agents of socialisation in the society, such as the churches, mosques, schools and opinion leaders must live up to their responsibilities by supporting the efforts of the NDLEA. Let us give our children timely anti-drug education and guide them on the right path because they are the leaders of tomorrow” Adoke added.
Similarly, Right Honourable Tambuwal who was the Special Guest at the event condemned the consequences of drug trafficking. According to the Speaker, “some of the consequences of illicit drug ventures are the destabilization and destruction of national economies, frustration of monetary and fiscal control, and inflation due to laundering of proceeds from illegitimate sources. A serious implication of the vast assets derived from illicit drug trade is that it can be used to influence political decisions and overthrow legitimate governments”.
Dr Rahman Lawal, Chief Medical Director, Federal Neuro-pschiatric Hospital Yaba who was the guest lecturer educated participants on the subject, The Emergence of Amphetamine Production in Nigeria: A Threat to National Security and Economy. He listed consequences of drugs to include mental illness similar to paranoid schizophrenia, malnutrition, blockage of blood vessels, increased susceptibility to illness due to poor diet and death due to CVA (Stroke), heart failure, or high fever.
NDLEA boss said that Nigeria is winning the fight against illicit drugs against all odds. “Nigeria has incapacitated numerous drug trafficking syndicates with the seizure of 3,434,966.23 kilogrammes of narcotics and conviction of 21,871 drug traffickers since the Agency commenced operations 23 years ago. The breakdown of the drugs are as follows; 2,827,861.70kg of cannabis, 178,120.73kg of cocaine, 195,283.92kg of heroin and 233,699kg of psychotropic substances” he stated.
Cannabis also known as hemp used to be the only locally produced illicit drug in Nigeria. Unfortunately, this is no longer the situation today as the Agency has discovered several Clandestine Laboratories that produce methamphetamine in the country.
“In the past two years, we have detected and dismantled five (5) methamphetamine production laboratories. Four of these illicit drug production laboratories were discovered in Lagos while the fifth laboratory was discovered in Nanka village, Anambra State. Unlike cannabis, methamphetamine is a class ‘A’ drug with a rapidly growing global market. The impending danger of this new trend therefore calls for active participation of both Nigerians and international collaborators” Giade stated.
The Agency has also infused elements of drug abuse preventive education into the relevant subjects in the Curricula of Basic Education, Senior Secondary School, Tertiary Institution as well as Adult and Non-Formal Education Sector.
Public enlightenment programmes according to the Agency have been designed for different target groups such as traders, youths out of school, road transport workers, artisans and many more.

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