Worried by the increasing cases of drug peddling and abuse in Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has solicited the support of LGA chairmen, security agencies, members of the NURTW and pharmaceutical companies in combating the scourge.
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen Buba Marwa, who said the agency had arrested no fewer than 35,000 drug peddlers and secured 6000 convictions, solicited the support of the chairmen and organisations at an interactive meeting with them in Maiduguri on Tuesday.
Marwa said that the remaining cases were still pending in court, adding that the support of all Nigerians was required to fight the drug war.
He explained that once anyone was caught engaged in the illicit drug trade, their wealth and properties would be confiscated by law.
Marwa said that 15 million Nigerians indulge in the consumption of illicit drugs, noting that one in four of Nigerians that abused drugs were women.
He said that some parents were afraid to go to sleep before their children because they were not sure of what the child would do to them when they go to sleep.
“There is no greater problem facing us in the country today more than the drug abuse. Every community in Nigeria is facing this problem.
“I am sure each and everyone of you sitting here today knows somebody in his family or his community that is afflicted with drug abuse problem.
“Every day parents miss money in their houses because the children steal the money to keep the habit.
“In some cases, the parents are the drug addict, they send the children to go and buy the drugs for them.
“It is a problem that is facing us that we need to stand up collectively to challenge. The fact is that, we have had children who killed their parents.
“The other day, a boy killed his mother after she refused to give him N5000 he demanded because he needed to sustain the addiction,” the NDLEA chairman said.
Marwa said that the insurgency bedeviling the state was exacerbate by drugs, noting that all the activities of the insurgents were aggregated by drugs.
“We have had experience where the military officers who took over insurgents camps asked the insurgents what was their most important possession and they said it was drugs.
“Once they have their drugs they are happy which triggers them to commit their heinous crimes.
“Insurgents, criminals, bandits and Boko Haram, armed robbers all need drugs to operate.
“We must therefore work in partnership as a society, not just for the NDLEA, all of us are stakeholders.
“We have to stand up for the challenge, face it and conquer it once and for all,” he said.
Marwa urged the LGA chairmen to establish a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) committees to fight drug abuse in their respective LGAs.
He maintained that such a move would go further to create awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and other vices.
He assured them that the NDLEA was making efforts toward deploying its men to the local government areas and urged the chairmen to provide them with office accommodation and vehicles for patrol.
“We are going to deploy an additional 5,000 NDLEA men. They will soon be in every nook and cranny of the state to stamp out the menace of drug abuse.
“Already, we have established about 36 rehabilitation centers across the country and when we have a situation that is beyond our facilities, we refer it to the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital.
The chairman commended Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno for his commitment toward combating drug abuse in his state and providing support to the NDLEA command in the state.
Also speaking, Sugun Mai- Mele, Borno Commissioner for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, assured the NDLEA of the total support and commitment of the government towards the fight against drug abuse.
Mai-Mele said that the state government had domesticated and passed the Anti vices law in the state, stressing that the government had demolished structures used for selling marijuana and other narcotics.