Marwa Warns Of  40% Increase In Drug Use By Youths In 2030

Daud Olatunji

Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd),  has alerted the nation to a looming crisis. 

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Marwa warned that drug use in Nigeria and other African countries is projected to increase by 40% by 2030, driven largely by the growing population of young people.

Describing the situation as a “national emergency,” Marwa emphasized the urgent need for Nigeria to invest heavily in preventive measures to address the anticipated challenges. 

The press conference marked the beginning of a week-long series of events to celebrate the 2024 International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Marwa stated, “Projections show that by 2030, there will be a 40% increase in the use of drugs in Africa, based on the population of young people. 

This is extremely concerning, considering that 2030 is only six years away. We must prioritize prevention and treatment using scientific, evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge.”

Highlighting successful initiatives, Marwa mentioned UNODC’s partnership with the Nigerian government to implement evidence-based prevention programs, such as the “Unplugged” school-based Drug Prevention Programme. 

This initiative has been rolled out in 110 unity schools and several states, including Kebbi, Bayelsa, and Kaduna, demonstrating effective collaboration between federal and state authorities.

In addition to preventive measures, Marwa reiterated NDLEA’s commitment to combating drug trafficking through rigorous enforcement actions.

 Since launching an offensive against drug cartels and traffickers in January 2021, the agency has seen significant results, including the arrest and prosecution of several high-profile traffickers.

 In April, two serial traffickers received life sentences, underscoring the effectiveness of NDLEA’s diligent investigations and prosecutions.

“Our water-tight case preparations and the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA 2022) have strengthened our efforts,” Marwa explained.

 “Assets used in drug crimes or derived from such activities are forfeited to the federal government, ensuring that crime does not pay.”

On drug demand reduction, Marwa highlighted the success of the NDLEA’s flagship programme, War Against Drug Abuse (WADA).

 This initiative, based on a ‘whole of society approach,’ has proven to be a powerful tool for advocacy, public engagement, and collaboration against drug abuse and trafficking.

 WADA aligns with the theme for the 2024 World Drug Day, “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention,” which emphasizes the importance of preventing drug use and dependence.

Marwa concluded by stressing the significance of World Drug Day, observed on June 26 each year, as a critical moment for the global community to reassess and strengthen their efforts against illicit drugs. “Prevention is a crucial aspect of our strategy,” he said. 

“With the support of the Federal Government and our various stakeholders, we will continue to invest in preventive measures as part of our ongoing reforms.”

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