The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has been Commended for its efforts at steming the tide of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the country.
Participants at the Public enlightenment of the 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking gave the commendation Monday while rounding off the week long activities to mark the day
Some participants who spoke at the conference .such as Chief Osita Chukwu, the President of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders inhis goodwill message applauded the good job the NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa is making in this regard, insisting that “everyone who witnesses what goes on in our society should know that there is actually a tremendous change in the the fight against drug importation, sale and abuse. If other sectors of the economy can do very well like the NDLEA has been doing as at today, we will not be searching for running mates for Presidents and running mates right now because the right key for the right door would have been discovered and we will then be able to be witness a change that will be impactful”.
Representative of the Flag officer commanding the Western Naval Committed, Commander Muhammed Dalhatu in his goodwill message also congratulated the NDLEA for organising this year’s drug abuse awareness campaign.
He said “we all know the efforts NDLEA management puts in place to make our society an illicit drugs free society. We have seen it all over the places.
Controller of Immigration Apapa Lagos Seaport and Marine Command ably represented by C.S.O Adewunmi also commended the NDLEA for the commemoration of 2022 International Day against Drug Abuse. According to Adewunmi the NDLEA is doing a great work in trying to eradicate drug abuse in our society.
He bakoned on all to rally round and support NDLEA to make our society a drug.
Dr. Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents while commending the efforts of the agency at curtailing the menace of drugs trafficking, disclosed that his association has been collaborating with the NDLEA in the past two years on the issue.
In his keynote address, Dr. Wale Ige of the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru used graphic and video evidence to illustrate his presentation to bring home the problem of drug abuse. Dr. Ige whose paper is titled “Addressing challenges in health and humanitarian crises in the maritime corridor”, pointed out that health is described as the general condition of a person and that the UN defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and psychological well being and NOT as a mere absence of illness.
Lt.Col. Amajuoyi, Commandant at Bonny Cantonment who wondered why the menace of drug abuse has lingered so long advised the agency on adopting proactive measures in order to solve the drugs problems.
Dr. Ige who delivered the Keynote address noted that humanitarian crisis can have physical, mental and psychological implications on the human person and so should be eradicated. He said that by reason of the participants being mainly those close to the port corridor, a place of transhipment of cargoes, care must be taken to forestall the incidence of drug trafficking, sale and abuse that may lead to a crisis. He admonished parents and leaders to show responsibili c bcty and refrain from engaging in activities that will introduce their children and wards to the dangerous arena of substance abuse.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the NDLEaA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa in his address of welcome at the occasion noted that the day is of utmost importance to the global community in the continuous effort to ameliorate the consequences of abuse of illicit substances and make our world a safer place.
He said the theme for this year which is “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.” highlights an aspect of the drug problem that is critical for Nigeria and indeed the world at large.
The NDLEA Chairman who was represented by the Commander of the Apapa Special Area Command, Mr. Inelegwu Ameh, stated that. “drug abuse health challenges came to the fore in 2021 as the human family was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the crux of the World Drug Report for 2021, which noted that “Drug use killed almost half a million people in 2019, while drug use disorders resulted in 18 million years of healthy life lost, mostly due to opioids. Serious and often lethal illnesses are more common among drug users, particularly those who inject drugs, many of whom are living with HIV and Hepatitis C.” ”
Marwa admitted that the concerns of World Drug Report 2021 were not far fetched because here in Nigeria, there were similar patterns with findings of the National Drug Use and Health Survey in 2018 with the risk of the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases very high and this in turn raises the stake of a public health crisis. Hence, there was no questioning the rationale of treatment for drug users.
“The National Drug Use Survey afforded Nigeria the baseline information needed for the design and implementation of effective prevention, treatment and care services capable of reducing the demand for drugs and also prevent the morbidity and mortality attributable to drug use.” He stated
The NDLEA Chairman affirmed that there were challenges associated with these substances which were obvious and as the report noted: “Two-thirds of high-risk drug users reported a self-perceived need for drug treatment. Around 40 per cent of those reported that they had wanted to receive drug treatment but were unable to access such services.”
Aside from the cost of treatment, the stigma associated with substance use and access to required health services were cited as major barriers to treatment in the country.