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A group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), on Saturday urged the federal, the state governments and individuals to support the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), to eradicate illicit drug in the country.
In a statement, MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, who commended the drug fighting agency, said MURIC is deeply worried by the increasing wave of violence in the country.
According to him, more disturbing was the rate of drug abuse among adults, both males and females.
“We see a nexus between the high crime rate in Nigeria and drug addiction. The symbiotic relationship between crime and drug can easily be gleaned from happenings in countries like Mexico, Italy, Peru, Columbia, Guatemala, Venezuela and El Salvador where drug cartels and drug gangs kill at will,” he said.
He appealed to the government to urgently rise to the challenge by giving all necessary support to the NDLEA to save Nigeria from becoming one of those drug-infested countries of Latin America and Europe.
He said the Federal Government must adopt a holistic approach to tackle the hydraheaded monster which threatens to swallow up social order.
“Already the signs are not so good as the statistics are alarming. Psychoactive substances, particularly cannabis, morphine, codeine and tramadol are consumed with reckless abandon by Nigerians.
“At least 14.4% of the total population or about 14.3 million Nigerians within the range of 15 and 64 years are drug users,” he said.
He said “drug abuse is found to be most common among those between the ages of 25 and 39 years. Unfortunately 27.7% of the users are youths who should face their studies or trainings.’
He urged Nigerian authorities to “see serious danger in this statistics because it tends to beat world records. For whereas global annual use is estimated at 5.6% among the adult population, Nigeria brandishes 14.4% drug users in its total population.”
“Cannabis is the most commonly abused as it is used by an estimated 10.8% of the population, representing 10.6 million people. One in every seven persons have used opioids of one type or another. Also, one in every four users is a woman.
“Drug use is responsible for the increase in criminality in Nigeria. It is also behind high suicide rate in the country. Besides, Nigeria’s efforts at facing the rising challenge of insecurity may remain a pipe dream unless the government tackles the drug saga headlong.
“Security agents have reported finding drugs among items left behind by Boko Haram insurgents on the run. Drugs have also been found in the possession of armed robbers and kidnappers arrested by the police,” he added.
He said the most alarming
trend is was its use among students in both tertiary institutions and secondary schools.
“The light we see at the end of the tunnel in the war against narcotics is Brigadier General Buba Marwa. NDLEA, which was in comatose before his advent in January 2021 as the Director General, has since sprang to life.
“More than N30 billion worth of cocaine has been seized at the Lagos airport within the short spell that he came on board. N32 billion worth of cocaine was also impounded at the Tin Can Port while 200kg of drugs were seized at the Lagos, Kano, and Abuja airports.
“The biggest haul was the 233,000 kg of cannabis which was seized in a community in Edo state. Besides, many drug barons who have been evasive for long have been apprehended.
“MURIC charged the Federal Government in particular and all state governments and other agencies in general to give NDLEA every necessary support it may need. We urge parents to stand up to be counted in loco parentis. Counselling at home and monitoring should be intensified.
“Authorities of both secondary schools and institutions of higher learning should give the counselling department greater priority in order to guide our young ones,” he stated.