Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki says that illicit use of drugs has resulted in increased act of terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of crime in Nigeria.
He made this known while declaring open a one-day public hearing on the Bill for an Act to Amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Bill in Abuja on Monday.
Saraki, who was represented by the Minority Whip, Sen. Philip Aduda, said the growing use of illicit drugs called for concerted effort to stem the tide.
He added that unless something drastic was done to stop the menace, particularly among youths, the effect would be devastating on the economy.
“The use of illicit drugs has become a challenge to our internal security.
“Added to this is the threat to the health and wellbeing of our teeming youths and we must therefore stop the menace.
“At the entry and exit points of international airports, our citizens are subjected to undue scrutiny.
“Drug trafficking and abuse is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
“This public hearing therefore is a platform to work with stakeholders to amend the law to respond to the challenges in drug war,’’ he said.
Saraki assured that the National Assembly would not relent in its effort to champion the course for the elimination of wrong use of drugs in the country.
According to him, the National Assembly is poised to contribute its quota to eliminating these drugs through amendment and enactment of legislations.
“This is our own effort to change the narrative.
“We must equally restore the good image of our country at the international arena as far as war against trafficking is concerned.
“The 8th Senate is resolute and committed in the discharge if its constitutional mandate for the peace and good governance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The amendment of the bill sought here is aimed at imposing stiffer punishment for offenders and to ensure that the agency has more than is required to curb drug trafficking.
“With this therefore, we expect to have a new regime that will see through the elimination of the country. Our aim must remain the total elimination of drugs.’’
He commended the committee for organising the public hearing.
The Chairman of the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Sen. Joshua Lidani, also decried the illicit use of drugs in the country.
He said that there was the need to have a legislation that would stipulate stiffer penalties for illicit use of drugs.
Lidani pointed out that being saddled with the responsibility of oversighting the National Drug Law enforcement Agency, the committee would ensure the strengthening of its capacity to fight the war effectively.
According to him, we will carry out our duty of strengthening the capacity as well as ensure relevant legislations to help it deliver on its mandate.
“We are working with all stakeholders to eliminate the illicit use of drugs and trafficking in our dear country and to assist the agency to strengthen the agency’s capacity.’’
He further said though the agency had been relocated from Lagos to Abuja with improved staff strength, a lot more still needed to be done to empower it.
He said “this is still a far cry from the needs of the agency. The agency does not have enough scanners and the ones being used are donated by foreign agencies’’.
“This amendment will help address some of these problems.’’