Centre for Ethical Rebirth Among Nigerian Youths (CERANY), a Civil Society Organisation, has decried the neglect of non-state actors, also known as stakeholders, in the 2021-2025 National Control Master Plan against drug abuse.
Mr Chuks Akamadu, President of the CSO, revealed this position at a news conference in Abuja on Friday to commemorate the 2023 International Day against drug abuse, celebrated annually on June 26.
He said that for a remarkable progress to be made in the war against drug abuse, non-state actors should be mainstreamed in the control plan, and should be given a particular role to play in the process of the fight.
He called on the government to see
non-state actors as partners in progress that would contribute meaningfully in the process of winning the war against drug abuse in the country.
Akamadu called on President Bola Tinubu to commission a review of the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA).
He said that when non-state actors are mainstreamed into the war against drug abuse, they will be able to identify gaps in the whole process, and find solutions altogether.
The President of CERANY further urged the Federal Government to seek active collaboration of other tiers of government, particularly the judiciary, to pave the way for early dispensation of justice in drug related cases.
“If we have the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) manning the enforcement wing of the battle, times demand that we also have another agency to deal with public enlightenment, advocacy and sensitisation.
“This, in our view, would be a most functional way of commemorating this year’s International Day against drug abuse and Illicit trafficking.
“I urge us to prevent our youths, by all means possible, from experimenting with drugs. It is cheaper to prevent than to treat, and the cost of care is even much more prohibitive,” he stressed.
The NDLEA Chairman, Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, who was represented by Mr Chidi Ndukwu, Deputy Commander, Narcotics, gave a summary of the progress made by the NDLEA between Jan. 2021 and May 2023.
Marwa said that, over the period under review, the agency had made 31,675 arrests, 6,252,924kg seizures, 5,147 convictions, 852,142 hecteres of farmland destroyed and had counselled and rehabilitated 23,725 persons respectively.
A Retired Pilot, Capt. Paul Nwachukwu, urged the NDLEA to carry civil society organisations, like CERANY, along in championing the campaign against drug abuse.
He suggested that the NDLEA alone may not be able to handle the deluge of drug cases in the country.
Mr Ojobo Tochukwu, Director of Welfare, National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Joint Campus Committee, FCT Chapter, called on NDLEA to set up a special committee against drug abuse.
He said that the committee would be responsible for going round the street to monitor the prevalence of drug use among the youth, and will come back with a feedback.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that among those who were at the news conference was a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Singapore, Amb. Timloh Nkem.
NAN also reports that the theme for the 2023 International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking is “People First: Stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention.”
Source: News Agency of Nigeria