The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, has said kidnappers and other criminals now demand drugs as ransom from their victims.
This was contained in a statement issued by Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s director of media and publicity, on Thursday.
The statement said Buba Marwa announced this during the inauguration of a “Special Purpose Committee” of the agency to mobilise against drug abuse, peddling and trafficking.
It said the Chairman also called on Nigerians to take ownership of the renewed fight against the menace of drug abuse in the country.
The statement quoted Marwa as saying that the involvement of all Nigerians in the fight has become imperative because of the great danger the problem of drug abuse poses to society and the country at large.
“Use of drugs in Nigeria today is at an epidemic proportion of approximately 15 million, nearly three times global prevalence. No wonder, so much criminality everywhere in our land and it is increasing instead of abating with such symptoms as kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, rape, and assassinations,’’ said the statement.
“Behind it, all is drug use. Criminals now ask for ransom in drugs and unless we get to this root cause, we will only be scratching the surface, as the criminalities will continue to flourish.
“Unfortunately, drug use does not show in the face, but we all know somebody or someone who knows somebody doing drugs and that is why we all need to come together as Nigerians to fight the menace.
“Today, I am deployed to serve with the patriotic officers and men of the NDLEA, the lead agency for controlling, coordinating and taking charge of the war against drugs throughout Nigeria. The fight cannot be ours to fight alone. It must be a collective fight. We need the collaboration of every segment of Nigeria society.
“The committee, being inaugurated today, is the first step in involving our society in this fight. With your membership coming entirely from outside the agency, you will serve as our Think Tank. You will be involved in public policy discourse on drugs with us in the NDLEA, you will help us with advice and suggestions and may even participate in the implementation of some of your own suggestions if the situation warrants.
“Assembled here today are – academic, civil society practitioners in drug rehabilitation, medical professionals, youth, women groups representatives, media, public advocacy groups, religious bodies and more. One passion connects us all: a passion to eliminate drug use from families, streets, communities, public places and in short Nigeria as a whole.”
According to him, it was in realisation of the problems of drug abuse that President Muhammadu Buhari, inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, in 2018, with the mandate to bring to him recommendations on how best to tackle and eliminate the drug scourge within the shortest possible time.
“No president before him has shown so much passion in the drug scourge menace. I should take this opportunity to recognise the interventional efforts of our esteemed First Lady, Her Excellency, Dr Aisha Buhari towards the creation of PACEDA and her personal participation in PACEDA and that of Her Excellency, wife of the Vice President who also has demonstrated commitment and zeal.”