Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, has recommended integrity drug test as requirement for all politicians seeking public office and public office holders.
Marwa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that idea behind the call for the test “is to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse” in the country.
He recommended the same integrity test for students seeking admission into higher institutions and those returning from vacation as well as intending couples.
The NDLEA chief said conducting drug tests on intending couples would help detect the problem at an early stage just as the agency had consistently advocated.
“We need to think out of the box with the situation we face to reduce the use of drugs, especially to reduce the use of drugs for our youth, who are the bulk users of drugs.
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“For instance, we feel that tertiary institutions need to do drug test for their students before they start school or when they are returning from holidays.
“If they test positive, it will affect their progress in school. The test will help us know those that need help early enough before it gets worse.
“It is the same line of thinking, that in Nigeria, like anywhere else in the world, once a youth, after completing school and getting a job, the next thing is marriage.
“Since in Nigeria we go for genotype test, we do HIV test before marriage, voluntarily, why can’t we add drug test the list, so that it will further propel reduction in the prevalence?
“Anybody that is positive will cut back because his or her intended wife, husband or in-laws may not be comfortable.
“We believe from cutting back, he or she will stop the habit or the prospective in- laws will rally round to help,’’ he said.
Marwa appealed to religious leaders and parents to consider adopting the test for their children and their members before marriage.
He urged state governments as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies to consider conducting drug test on public office holders in government.
The NDLEA chair commended the Kano State governor for initiating and implementing drug test for political office holders and urged other state governors to emulate him.
“We have a requests from NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the School of Infantry, where we were able to carry out drug tests on their warrant officers.
“We did that at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.