Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The leadership of Jamaa’tu Nasril Islam (JNI) on Wednesday advocated the death penalty for drug dealers as one of the means by which the menace of drug and substance abuse could be checked in Nigeria.
This was even as the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State suggested full enforcement of existing laws on drugs which, it believes, would in turn apply strict penalty on offenders.
The two religious bodies made these statements in their separate meetings with members of Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) led by Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (retd), who were in Kaduna as part of their nationwide consultations on elimination of drug abuse.
Speaking at the headquarters of JNI in Kaduna, the Secretary-General of JNI, Sheikh Dr Abubakar Khalid, said the time had come for the generalty of Nigerians to address the menace of drug abuse squarely as it is done in places like Europe and Middle East.
“I think the matter has gone so terrible and dangerous to the extent that all measures taken defiled solution. Untill a very decisive deterrent variable is taken as done elsewhere, we may not be able to tackle it.
“In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East, when the menace reach this level, it is death penalty or a very draconian legal action with serious imprisonment and not the way we are toying with it like a toy or joke in this country. Those that concern should look into this,” he said.
Secretary, CAN, KADUNA State, Reverend Dr Sunday Ibrahim, lamented the weak enforcement of existing laws on drug use and drug abuse by implementers especially the Nigerian Police and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who intercept, arrest drug pushers only to be released back into the society within a few hours after the arrest.
“With this committee and the calibre of people in it, it means we are very serious as country about this matter. We have seen situations where these people were intercepted but were later freed without trial and then become threat to people around them.
“We have so many laws but we are not strict in enforcing these laws. From our pupits, we have been teaching and preaching against drug abuse, telling our members its implications and we will continue to do that.
“We have over 2,000 churches under CAN in Kaduna with each has many churches under them. After this meeting, we are going to organise a workshop to further engage them on this, issue. We are worried about the whole thing because these people are either going to church or mosque,” he added.