Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Chairman of Cross River State Anti Tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, has stated that it would be difficult to fight crime in Nigeria without fighting drug abuse.
Isong, who is the President of Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI), Calabar, said what is needed is the political will to implement all the existing laws on crimes and criminalities.
Speaking at the Seventh Emmah Isong Annual Public Lecture with the theme “Curbing Drug Abuse: A Major Panacea to reducing crime in Nigeria,” he said the annual lecture is his platform to answer many unanswered societal questions.
According to him, Nigeria cannot pretend that substance abuse and multiplication of cult groups were not huge challenges in our society.
He said: “We need to fight illicit drug use before fighting crime because we all saw the level of destruction that happened in Cross River when the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums, this couldn’t have been possible without the use of drugs.
“We have enough laws already on ground. In fact, in the next 300 years we should not make another law, all we need is implementation of the existing reports.
“Our problem is the lack of political will by leaders and the led. We all need to come together and change the narrative by stopping the definition of government as a particular person but seeing it as you and I,” he said.
Speaking on the theme of the annual lecture, the Guest Lecturer and former State Security Adviser to the Government of Cross River, Mr Rekpene Bassey, drug is any substance, which when consumed,
by a living organism alters the state of the organism.
Bassey noted that people abused drugs for various bio-psycosocial reasons and the prevalence of drug use is increasing by the day.
“In a survey carried out in 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Federal Ministry of Health and United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) discovered that 14 per cent of persons between the ages of 15 and 64 were involved in the use of dangerous drugs.
“It further revealed that while 66 per cent of children on the streets are on drugs, 88 per cent of these children are actively involved in crime.
“In the next 25 years, if nothing is done, over 100 million Nigerians will be involved in drug abuse,” he said.
Bassey stated that increase in crime rate, unemployment, cultism, communal crisis and others all have their roots from drug abuse.
He added that there should be drug prevention sensitisation and drug supply reduction in the society while parents must be good examples and monitor their ward.