By Bukar Bolori
The need for politicians seeking public office and students seeking admission into higher institutions to undergo drug integrity test has again been emphasised by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd).
Marwa stated this Tuesday in Abuja while delivering a paper on ‘Drug Abuse and National Security Challenge: Way Forward’, as the guest speaker at the 5th anniversary lecture of presidential diary magazine. He said as elections come up in the states and across the country, there is the need for the people to entrust the management of their treasury and their wellbeing in the hands of politicians that have clear minds because no public office holder under the influence of drugs can think straight. He said same thing applies to students seeking admission into higher institutions. He said because of the evidence-based strong nexus between drug abuse and security challenges across the country, concerted efforts must be made towards tackling the drug scourge headlong.
“In this regard, we are doing our best in our area of responsibility in the NDLEA. There has been a paradigm shift in our approach to controlled substances. In the past 100 days, operatives of the NDLEA nationwide have carried out non-stop offensive against drug trafficking, traffickers and abusers. We shall not relent in our objective of having a drug-free Nigeria. We have the conviction that if we can shut down the drug pipeline, cancel out the drug demand-drug supply equation and mop up the cache of illicit substances in our territory, the insecurity problem will be half solved.
“More importantly, our National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) has been tweaked to also focus on drugs from the perspective of public health and education issues. This way, we will be able to provide a balanced solution to the drug scourge.
“Due to the complex nature of the drug problem, we are also aware that we wouldn’t go far on this mission without the support of the public. That is why we are changing gears, to now say, let the public buy in and own the fight against controlled substances. We have decided to make the campaign the people’s war, so to speak. A case of the people of Nigeria vs. drug barons, traffickers and abusers.
“To this end, we have set up some mechanisms such as the Special Purpose Committee that draws a pool of stakeholders to join the NDLEA in advocacy against illicit drugs. I have been going up and down the country to meet opinion leaders, organisations, royal fathers, strategic institutions, religious and civil organisations to rally Nigerians for this fight-to-finish campaign against drug trafficking. So far, the message is warmly received. We have the confidence that once the people are on our side; the country is on track to winning this drug war.
To this end, we have rejigged all our civil engagement mechanisms such as the Drug-Free Clubs, and we have mounted a strong campaign for the entrenchment of the Drug Integrity Test as a social process that we all must go through.”
While urging Nigerians not to be despondent about the security challenges facing the country, the NDLEA boss urged that everyone must join the agency’s advocacy train.
“Compatriots, don’t let us fall into utter despair thinking we are helpless and at the mercy of the agents of disruptions. There is something every one of us can do to ameliorate the unacceptable state of insecurity of our country. The least you can do is to join the NDLEA in the advocacy against drug trafficking and abuse. That little effort, from all of us, put together, adds up to a momentous contribution that can tilt the balance against agents of destruction and destabilisation working against the interest of this country.”
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
25th May, 2021