Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As part of its nationwide consultation with crucial stakeholders on how to address the alarming rate of substance abuse in Nigeria, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), on Monday began a three-day advocacy visit to Kaduna State.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi of Kano, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State among other notable Nigerians, had raised concerns over the alarming statistics of 15 million drug users and more than three million drug abusers in the country with the highest percentage of this figure coming from the North.
These concerns led to the Federal government banning supply of tramadol and cough syrup with codeine to the region as part of measures to address the menace of drug abuse especially by youths and housewives.
The Chairman, PACEDA, a former military administrator of Lagos State, Gen Buba Marwa (retd) said, the advocacy visit to critical stakeholders in fight against drug abuse became necessary in order to have a holistic blueprint on how to address the issue successfully.
He said he was confident that President Buhari would implement the report his committee would put up at the end of the exercise.
“Mr President and of course many Nigerians are worried about the spate of drug use and drug abuse in Nigeria. More than 15 million people use drug while three million people abuse drug which is quite on the high side and unacceptable.
“I’m aware that we have more than one million unregistered patent stores in Nigeria where these abuse drugs get to the public which is unfortunate. I’m sure we will get to the root of drug abuse and put a stop to it.
“So, we are confident that our report would be implemented by Mr President because of interest he has on the matter and that is why we are meeting with all agencies of government and other partners in this course,” he said.
In a remark, Director of Education Support Service in Federal Ministry of Education who represented the Minister of Education in the committee, Dr Giginna Lydia, described education as an important tool needed to address drug abuse suggesting that, no child should be out of school – from primary to secondary.
The first point of call was the Kaduna State Ministry of Health and Human Services where the Commissioner in charge, Dr Paul, Manya Dogo, said that the government was already collaborating with primary and secondary schools in the state among other steps to address the issue from the scratch.
The committee later proceeded to the zonal office of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Neuro Psychiatric hospital, Borstal Training Institution, Milestone Centre for Addiction Management among others.