The Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum, NGSF, has called on the Federal and State Governments to declare state of emergency on substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria with a view to mobilising resources to tackling the pandemic.
The call was one of the resolutions in a communique signed by Chairperson of the Forum and First Lady of Kwara state, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrasaq issued on Tuesday 13th February 2024 at the end of a two-day Drug Prevention Treatment and Care, DPTC, training organized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA for wives of state governors in Abuja.
While acknowledging “the urgent need to take control and reinvigorate the State Drug Control Committees (SDCC) for optimal functioning for the States that have one, and encourage States that do not have to constitute one, to increase rehabilitation programmes that focus on holistic recovery, addressing both physical and mental health of drug addiction as well as harm reduction”, the governors’ wives stressed the need for “the Federal Government and state governors to declare state of emergency on illicit drug use and trafficking pandemic with a view to mobilising resources to tackling it.”
Other resolutions in the communique include “the need to foster good parenting through parents teachers associations, community outreach programmes and to support the NDLEA Drug Integrity Testing Policy for early detection of drug users and timely intervention to prevent the progression to addiction/dependency;
“Agrees to work as a body and facilitator towards strengthening collaboration and cooperation between State governments, NDLEA and other security agencies in the fight against drug use and trafficking;
“Agrees also to support the building of at least three standard drug rehabilitation centres, one in each senatorial zone of the State to cater for drug users within the states and reduce the challenges of costs, access and stigma to drug treatment;
“Further agrees to use their good offices to liaise with the State Governors to facilitate the establishment, where no one exists, and strengthening, where it exists, of States Drug Control Committees (SDC) and appoint first ladies of States as chairs of the committees with NDLEA State Commander as the Secretary, for effective action against drug use prevalence, treatment and care.
“Adopts the Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) programmes in States as Forum project, and to be chaired by the first ladies of the States, to help curb the menace of drug use and fostering greater access to treatment for women who use drugs by reducing to the barest minimum stigmatisation and cultural push back;
“Adopts also projects and policies that foster cooperation with private sector and civil society organisations in the development of standardised treatment centres across the States of the Federation;
“Fosters active collaboration with, and providing supports to, NDLEA Commands in States with a view to embedding DPTC in all their anti-drug intervention programmes; and realises the need to create skill acquisition centres and employment opportunities for young people to reduce being lured into drug use and trafficking.”
The First Ladies said their resolutions were based on their understanding of “the nexus between drug use and the heightened level of criminality, the increasing number of school dropouts, social and health issues, family problems, including violent extremism, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, and its resultant impact on the food security, safety of lives and properties, foreign direct investment, the economy and the national security”, among others.
While commending efforts of NDLEA and the leadership of Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa, (Retd) “in recent years, against drug use and trafficking with resounding successes in the areas of arrests and seizures, prosecutions and convictions, awareness raising, counseling and rehabilitation among others”, the governors’ wives assured the Agency of their preparedness to take the knowledge gained during the training to their states for further action.
In his closing remarks at the end of the training, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the First Ladies for taking time out of their busy schedules to stay two days attending the DPTC training. He urged them not to allow lessons learnt to end at the venue but taken to their various states for implementation.