Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received the report on measures to eliminate drug abuse in the country. This is even as he noted that it is more difficult to bring down crime rate to acceptable levels without clearing the country of substance abuse.
The report was presented by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa (retd.). The committee was inaugurated on December 11, 2018. Other members of the committee include the wives of the President and Vice-President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari and Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari, assured that winning the war against drug abuse remains one of the critical elements of the Next Level mandate of his administration.
He reiterated the commitment of government to the welfare of the citizenry by fighting the scourge of drug abuse. He said: “Winning the war becomes one of the critical elements of the Next Level mandate of this administration. As a government, we have the responsibility to ensure the security and well-being of our people. Our findings have shown that it is more difficult to bring down crime rate to acceptable levels without clearing our country of substance abuse.”
Realising the enormity of the menace, President Buhari, however solicited for cooperation of all and sundry. He called on all well-meaning Nigerians and international partners to join hands with relevant government agencies in the fight against drug abuse.
While thanking the committee for its timely and diligent prosecution of the assignment, the President assured that the matter was of utmost importance, and the report would be studied along with the recommendations.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, General Buba Marwa (retd) had told the President that since the committee was inaugurated in December, 2018, it interfaced with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Faith-based Organisations, professional bodies, international partners and members of drug user communities with their parents, teachers and care givers.
He added that the assignment, which took members to all the geopolitical zones of the country, confirmed the fears of President Buhari that Nigeria had a very strong drug problem that needed to be tackled as a national emergency.
He, however, said the key to tackling the menace is a formal launch of a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) as part of declaration of a state of emergency on the menace as well as the establishment of a National Drug Control Commission.