From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, yesterday, expressed confidence that lawmakers in the National Assembly will vote against legalization of cannabis, saying they know that anyone who votes for it cannot return to their constituencies.
The NDLEA boss who was in the presidential villa, Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari, reminded Nigerians that the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, of how it destabilizes and affects behaviour, added that Nigeria is the highest consumer of substance.
The former Lagos State military administrator, while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of his briefing with President Buhari noted that while the agency appreciates those who want to localize it for financial gains, “we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.
“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health, it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalization. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users, this is the highest in the world. We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, and physics.”
Talking about the alleged push for legalization of the substance for medical and other uses, he said: “We can never support legalization and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the Act because I know 90% or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalization. And, they dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalization because we’re seeing the implication on the ground. The youths, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalized by the grace of God.”
Marwa who disclosed that he constantly receives death threats from criminal in the course of his job said he is not overly concerned even though he takes precaution. He said: “Severally, it’s almost a daily occurrence, because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, colleagues, and sometimes people at random who we don’t know.” The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency especially the move to build barracks for its personnel, saying that the president responded positively to the initiative.