The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), yesterday, called for a holistic collaboration to end the menace of drug abuse in the country.
The UNODC Country Representative, Mr Oliver Stolpe, who made the call during the National Implementation Workshop of all International Drug Policy Commitments in Abuja, said in spite of the achievements recorded over the past decade, it was important for parties to renew their individual and collective commitments.
Stolpe noted that the workshop came handy considering the level of drug epidemic and the unprecedented dimensions it has received within and outside the country.
“This workshop is an important step in translating these commitments into tangible results.
“All these trends which seem to mirror much of what we observe also in other countries in the region, clearly require a fundamental change in approach to tackle drug demand and supply reduction.
“It is important that all stakeholders (state and non-state actors, international partners and donor agencies) work collaboratively in addressing these issues.
“Inclusiveness and comprehensiveness are the principles of how the Commission on Narcotic Drugs conducts its work. These principles must also guide our collective work in Nigeria.
“As we are charting the way forward, the policy guidance from Vienna comes at the right moment. No country can address the complex issue of drugs alone,” Stolpe said.
On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government has dedcided to comply with all the commitments and goals arrived at from 2009 to put an end to the menace of drug abuse.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Sulaiman, added that the commitment was very timely considering the high rate of drug abuse and drug related challenges facing the international community.
“The global drug problem is also a reflection of our domestic reality. The recent drug use survey reveals that over 40 million people use drugs in Nigeria.
“This number is higher than most countries in the world and it is a reflection of deep rooted challenges that requires efforts of policy makers and development partners in eradicating this menace.
“This workshop provides the opportunity to improve the capacities of professionals engaged in the daily administration of our drug use policies,” Onyeama said.
In his remarks, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd), noted that combating drug menace needed a more strategic and robust approach.
Abdallah disclosed that right from the 2009 Political Declaration, the drug menace in the country and other parts of the world had risen astronomically.
“In Nigeria, the drug problem has shifted from the transit status for cocaine, heroin and cannabis cultivation to math machine production, use of drugs of different types including psychoactive medicine, especially Tramadol and cough syrup containing codeine.
“In other to address the drug problems in Nigeria, the country has put in place, a Comprehensive National Action Plan on Drug control known as the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP).
“The master plan contains four pillars to effectively address the drug problem in the country,’’ Abdallah said.