The Federal Government has called for a well-coordinated international cooperation to tackle the links between drug trafficking and all forms of organised crime, like terrorism.
The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa said this at the ongoing 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, (CND), holding in Vienna, Austria.
In a statement by the agency’s Director Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Monday, in Abuja, Marwa presented this as one of Nigeria’s demands to a global audience.
According to him, Nigeria would welcome robust international cooperation, to address the links between drug trafficking and terrorism, illicit financial flows, smuggling of migrants and other forms of organised crime.
“We underscore the importance of technical assistance by United Nations on Drug and Crime (UNODC), which has greatly assisted practitioners of beneficiary countries.
“And this positively impacted on global efforts to counter and address the world drug problem, and we urge for their continuation, ” he said.
Marwa explained that Nigeria had continued to adapt her drug control policies and strategies to respond to emerging and evolving realities.
The NDLEA boss lamented that despite the implementation of the framework and strategic Action Plan, trafficking and abuse of controlled substances had persisted.
“First, the cultivation and high traffic of cannabis and its abuse has been on the increase. Our National Drug Use Survey, 2019, revealed that over 10 million persons abused cannabis in one year.
“In a similar pattern, the 2019 and 2020 World Drug Reports identified cannabis as the most abused substance with its threat to security, health and wellbeing of the global population.
“Second, the trafficking and non-medical use of synthetic and pharmaceutical opioids, especially Tramadol, remains a challenge.
“This is in spite of our domestic control efforts, as well as two tripartite meetings, facilitated by UNODC, involving Nigeria, Ghana and India, held in New Delhi and Lagos in 2019, to address the Tramadol crisis,” he said.
Marwa reiterated that legalisation of the illicit use of cannabis was a violation of the Drug Control Treaties, while highlighting the urgent need for change in the control measures for Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals.
He added that Nigeria had decentralised the storage of finished narcotic drugs to ensure their access, availability and affordability for medical and scientific use.
As a result, he added, NDLEA, was now able to optimise data collection and improve statutory submission of annual requirements to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) .
”This is with the launch, in 2020, of the national quantification/estimation survey, conducted in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
“We are also on course to start local manufacturing of narcotic medicines from two WHO-prequalified pharmaceutical manufacturers, to ensure availability and meet national needs, ” he said. (NAN).