From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in collaboration with the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched a five-year National Drug Control Master Plan that would address the drug problem and its associated consequences in the country.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig General Buba Marwa, who was represented by the secretary of the agency, Shadrach Haruna, said the master plan, which was a period of 2021 and 2025, was built on four major pillars to address the drug issues in a comprehensive, balanced, human rights-focused and gender-responsive manner.
He noted that there had been three previous blueprints in the past and the NDCMP 2021-2025, the fourth and newest version, was built on the foundation of the three previous editions.
According to him, “I wish to start this remark by acknowledging the support of the European Union through the “Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria” project (NGAV 16) and the UNODC for its enormous support to drug control activities and especially to the development of NDCMP 2021-2025, which is best described as a pragmatic “road map” to achieving our national drug control goals.
“The NDCMP is a five-year national action plan that addresses the drug problem and its associated consequences. There have been three previous blueprints, namely the inaugural 1999-2004 edition, the second edition covering the period 2008 to 2013, and the 2015–2020 document. NDCMP 2021-2025, the fourth and newest version, is built on the foundation of the three previous editions.
“This fourth edition of the NDCMP―which rests on four strategic pillars of Supply Reduction, Drug Demand Reduction, Access to Controlled Medicines for Medical and Scientific Purposes, Governance and Coordination―addresses the drug issues in a comprehensive, balanced, human rights-focused and gender-responsive manner.
Haruna stated that aside from its functionality, NDCMP 2021-2025 is symbolic of the continuity and advancement in the effort of the Nigerian government to address the evolving drug situation. It is the outcome of two years of coordinated, collaborative and multi-agency efforts comprising experts from all the relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as Civil Society Organizations.
“An effective campaign against the production, trafficking and abuse of illicit substances requires a result-oriented, proactive and all-encompassing Modus Operandi that is consistent with globally acceptable practices and standards. NDCMP 2021-2025 provides the needed fillip concerning strategic direction, effective prioritization of issues, collaboration and inclusiveness of all relevant partners and stakeholders.
“At this juncture, I wish to unequivocally state that I do not doubt that when the mechanisms, methodologies and strategic outlines of NDCMP 2021–2015 are implemented, we would substantially win the war against abuse and trafficking of controlled drugs and illicit substances.”
Marwa said that with the expected active support and collaboration of all stakeholders, the NDLEA would, in addition to drastically reducing the drug scourge, also effectively mitigate the harm caused by the abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs.
He said the ultimate objective was to promote the health, security and wellbeing of all living in Nigeria.
The NDLEA CEO who said the strategic document was the roadmap of the agency to achieving the goals, stressed that the NDCMP 2021-2025 was like a steering wheel for all the drug control campaigns currently going on in the country.
In his keynote address, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the strategic document was central to the country’s approach to addressing the menace of drug abuse.
The AGF was represented at the event by the Special Assistant to the President (Financial Crimes and Compliance), Biodun Aikomo.
Malami said the government was committed to decisively dealing with the problem of drug abuse in the country.
The Country Representative of UNODC, Oliver Stolpe, hoped that the latest master plan would have more impact than its predecessors.
He expressed optimism in the leadership of the NDLEA as well as the agency’s partners in tackling the problem of drug abuse.
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said the country’s future was at risk, except the growing menace of drug abuse was checked.
He said the launch of the masterplan was of serious significance in the battle against the devastating effects of drug abuse