About 30 million Nigerians would be on drugs by by 2050 if nothing was done to check the trend, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. General Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd), has said.
He also stated that 90 per cent of criminalities being perpetrated in Nigeria including banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and rape, were due to drug abuse.
According to him, with him in charge, the war against the menace of illicit drug trafficking, peddling and abuse “is a fight to finish.”
Marwa, according to a statement from the agency, spoke on Monday at three different fora in Port Harcourt where he met with various stakeholders.
He spoke at stakeholders meeting comprising men and officers of the Rivers state Command of NDLEA at the Command’s headquarters, along with Christian and Islamic leaders as well as the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Rivers State.
Marwa said, “Our society is a religious one and as such our religious leaders must use their privileged position to make the campaign against drug abuse part of their sermons in the churches and mosques.
“I want you to come out with a loud voice against the menace because if we don’t all rise up against the menace now, by 2050, not less than 30 million Nigerians will be on drugs and that is too dangerous for the future of this great country.”
He urged the NURTW leaders to mobilise their members against using drugs and transporting same for traffickers.
“NURTW must cut out the use of drug and its transportation by its members across the country. For us in NDLEA, we are going all out for the small and the big; both the users, traffickers and barons.
“The arrest in Lagos last week of a baron who has been on the run for 10 years confirms that we’ll not spare anyone, no matter how long they have been in the trade, they can no longer hide from the long arms of the law.”
The NDLEA CEO also spoke with officers of the Port Harcourt International Airport Command of the NDLEA along with other security agencies and stakeholders.
He reminded them that investigations have revealed that the airports and seaports had served as the gateway for importation and exportation of illicit drugs.
He therefore charged them to work in synergy to ensure that no hard drug enters or goes out of the country through their area of responsibility.
Marwa said, “You need to secure our country from the menace of drug abuse by working together. For us in the new NDLEA, this is a fight to finish, we can’t allow this country to be destroyed by criminalities. All those involved in this criminal act must be fished out and punished.”
At the Onne seaport, Marwa told a gathering of the stakeholders operating at the port including men and officers of the agency that “90 per cent of all criminalities in Nigeria today ranging from banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, rape and others is linked to the use of illicit drugs.
“Nobody in his right sense will take up arms to kidnap, rape and kill innocent people. Therefore, if we are able to tackle the issue of drug abuse, most of the security challenges the nation is facing now would have been solved. We also need to take this war as a battle to save our children and women, and ultimately our society and the country at large.”
He urged them to be vigilant and ensure “no drug goes out or comes in through Onne seaport because any little drug that escapes into the society can do great damage to our families and our country as a whole.”
All the stakeholders, especially the religious leaders and the NURTW assured Marwa of their support in the renewed fight against drug menace in Rivers State in particular and the country at large.
They said they were happy to be part of the meeting, adding that given Marwa’s antecedents, they were excited about the record seizures and arrests made since he took over the leadership of the NDLEA about a month ago.
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