From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Government of Ekiti State have agreed to collaborate with critical stakeholders on how to tackle the scourge of drug abuse in the state.
According to a statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr. Femi Babafemi, this was disclosed in a communiqué issued on Thursday at the end of a one-day town hall meeting on the theme “Walk away from drugs”, organised by the state Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the NDLEA in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital.
The guest speaker at the meeting was the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig-Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd). State Governor Kayode Fayemi was represented by his Deputy, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi at the event attended by the state Deputy Speaker, Hakeem Jamiu, first class monarchs, members of the state executive council, local government chairmen, CSOs, NGOs, women and youth groups among others.
According to the document produced at the end of the colloquium, the NDLEA and the state government agreed on the development of intelligence sharing network mechanism at the grassroots level with a view to dismantling the cultivation, manufacturing and use of illicit drugs and arrest the drug barons and their cohorts.
The adoption of a public health approach in collaboration with relevant authorities such as the public service, authorities of tertiary institutions and political heads for Confidential Drug Use Integrity Test to be carried out on the newly recruited civil servants including directors and permanent secretaries, newly admitted students and individuals seeking for political offices at all levels. It explained that the strategy would ensure early identification of individuals who use drugs with a view to providing help and support and preventing dependency.
The communiqué further stated that drug free certificate should be demanded before solemnization of marriage; establishment of drugs control prevention committee in all communities to comprise NGOs, Faith-based organisations, religious and opinion leaders, royal fathers, parents, youths and other relevant stakeholders; strong parent-child relationship should be explored to help the society restore the value system.
It also called for the establishments/resuscitation of anti-drug clubs in secondary and tertiary institutions while seeking for a joint sensitisation and enlightenment programme on the devastating consequences of the use of illicit drugs to the people and the state in general. It demanded that security agencies should live above board in a bid to eradicate the menace of hard drugs.
They said the measures were agreed on following concerns about the exponential and worrying figures about the illicit drug use in Ekiti State with the attendant impact on mental health of its people and socio-economic development of the State; as well the devastating consequences of the use of illicit drugs on national security, education, mental and economic development of our youth population and women.