The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has provided over 20 phones tablets and other psychosocial supports to 18 victims of drug abuse undergoing rehabilitation .
Nasir Sani Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary of the ministry speaking in Abuja at the event for the provision of psycho-social support and integration of victims of drugs/substance abuse said such support could not be overemphasised.
Gwarzo said the occasion marked the beginning of a new dimension to tackling substance and drug abuse in the country, adding that over time, it would just be sensitisation and awareness creation.
“This gathering is an expression of our determination to free our society from the evil clutches of a common enemy, the scourge of drug and substance abuse that is causing many untold miseries to individuals and families.
“It is also part of our commitment to deal with the menace and issues surrounding drug abuse and to provide an avenue for the expression of collaborative commitment of the ministry with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to combat the issues.
“At all times, we should aim to inform the public, particularly young people about the harmful effects that drugs can have on their health, families and the society as a whole.
“As a ministry, we want to begin a process of focusing on the socio-economic challenges faced by the victims of illicit drugs and substance abuse, not only in Abuja but throughout the federation.
“I want to call to all our people, especially the youths to refrain from abusing drugs and other harmful substances as it is very harmful to their health and has the potential to destroy their future.
“We are giving the victims of drug/substance abuse 20 phone tablets, four big frying pans and other forms of psychosocial supports to facilitate and enhanced their integration into the society,’’ Gwarzo said.
According to the permanent secretary, the ministry is putting all hands-on deck to rid the country of illicit drug challenges by escalating poverty eradication through N-power programmes, improving education enrolment through the National Home Grown School Feeding Programmes.
“This is in accordance to Mr President’s vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
“It is for this reason that we have decided to take a new dimension to the approach of not just sensitisation and awareness creation but to a more holistic approach.
“On this note, the ministry seeks an office space within your building to be furnished with the required equipment through our N-power programme.
“This will enable clients/victims under rehabilitation to undergo training in their various choice skills and will be equipped with starter packs for easy integration into the society.
“The ministry understands that they will not require going out to training centres, which is why we are requesting for an office space so that trainers/facilitators can come here to your facility to train the clients/victims.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gwarzo was represented at the event by the Director of Humanitarian Affairs of the Ministry, Alhaj Ali Grema.
The Director-General of NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa said “this is the first of its kind and a very laudable programme, worthy of emulation by other stakeholders.
“The menace of drug abuse has taken a worrisome dimension, despite measures put in place by the government at all levels and in line with international conventions to counter the growing challenges of drug abuse in Nigeria.
“Hence, the agency has never claimed that it can solve the drug menace all by herself without the support and cooperation of her critical stakeholders.
“This initiative by your ministry could not have come at a better time than now; hence I commend you most sincerely for your thoughtfulness at such a laudable programme.
“Substance use prevalence globally including Nigeria is on the increase. Findings from the National Drug Use Survey (2018) conducted by UNODC reviewed that 14.3 million Nigerians age 15 to 64 years have used psychoactive substance in the past year for non-medical purposes.
“More worrisome is that out of this figure about 370,000 Nigerians have drug use disorder and in every four illicit drug users in Nigeria, one is a woman,’’ Marwa said.
The NDLEA boss explained that due to the high prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) and charged all critical stakeholders to combat the drug challenge through a coordinated approach.
“I must state that your ministry’s action is a display of strong collaboration, synergy and support in the advocacy campaign designed to win public support and to prevent illicit drug use.’’
Marwa was represented by Mr Shadrach Haruna, NDLEA’s Secretary.
NAN reports that the NDLEA operatives prohibited the media from taking picture of the drug abuse victims undergoing rehabilitation. (NAN)