Okwe Obi, Abuja
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed that illicit drug consumption amongst Nigerians was three times higher when compared to global average, adding that over three million Nigerians live with drug induced disorder.
UNODC Country Director, Oliver Stolpe, stated at an event to commemorate the 2020 International Day of Drug abuse and Illicit Trafficking organised by Christabel Okoye Initiative, in Abuja, yesterday.
He said although the movement restriction imposed by the Federal Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, reduced intake, yet the numbers were still on the high side.
“We need to recognise that we have critical problems of drug use worldwide, but specifically in Nigeria presently, drug use is about three times high as the global average. We have more than three million individuals that live with a drug induced disorder. We just did a poll among young people. It is not necessarily representative of the entire population.
“But the outcome is quite telling nevertheless. This poll was done jointly with UNICEF. A total of 90 people across all states of the federation participated and 51 per cent amongst them knew somebody who used drugs in the course of the last 12 months. It is quite telling that half of them felt that drug use had increased as a result of the occurrence of COVID-19. It is true that restriction may have led very temporarily to making the obtaining or buying of drugs. But in the long run it actually adds different effect on isolation, fear and idleness,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman, House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Francis Agbo, faulted the number, saying it was higher than that and claimed security vehicles were used to convey drugs.
Agbo, represented by Agbonta Uzor, said for the problem of drug to be tackled, government should exert same amount of time and resources used in fighting insecurity and Coronavirus.
“You cannot combat insurgency without combating drugs. The country director gave you a data that is under scored.”