There are no fewer than 15 million people hooked on drugs in Nigeria, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa as disclosed.
Marwa, who described the development as alarming, said the global average rating of drug use and abuse is five percent while the rating for Nigeria is 15 percent.
“We have an emergency situation before us regarding the issue of drug abuse in Nigeria. The federal government decided to raise the committee to proffer recommendations and steps to be taken to resolve this issue.,” he said at the Katsina Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
He also visited Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari, where he disclosed that the committee which started work last December has concluded the plenary.
“On the whole, we are facing the supply side of the drugs, in terms of cutting the supply because you must have drugs first before the abuse.
“Government agencies involved need to be strengthened to be able to carry out their functions effectively and the demand side appears to be more difficult to handle. We also need to take preventive measures to ensure that those who do not take the drugs remain so. We have to interface with esteemed leaders across the country.
“We feel that there ought to be committees on drugs abuse right from the federal to the local governments and across the communities. We do know that the cause of drug abuse include but is not limited to poverty, joblessness and idleness which translate to looking for jobs.
“Rehabilitation and counseling centres are few. We will interface with religious organisations and traditional leaders and also examine the Almajirai situation and embellish it with western education. The Almajirai in the course of their training do other things that are not good for them,” Marwa said.
Masari described the state’s borders with the neighbouring Niger Republic as porous, adding that unscrupulous elements exploit the situation to smuggle illicit drugs and other substances into Nigeria.