Tinubu Pledges Continued Support for NDLEA’s Anti-Drug Campaigns

By Joke Kujenya

TOWARDS ITS relentless battle against substance abuse and drug trafficking, President Bola Tinubu has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to supporting the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

He made the pledge during the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, commemorated on June 26, 2024, at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.

The President, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, emphasized the importance of the day’s theme: “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention.”

He urged all Nigerians to support the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign initiated by the NDLEA three years ago. Highlighting the need for collective effort, he commended the agency’s work and called for a redoubling of efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.

Tinubu underscored the administration’s focus on youth through the Renewed Hope Agenda, which aims to protect young Nigerians from drug-related dangers.

Addressing the devastating impact of illicit drugs on individuals, families, and communities, the President stressed that prevention is the most effective strategy. He noted that prevention saves lives and resources, empowers individuals, promotes healthy lifestyles, and builds resilient communities.

Tinubu advocated for increased investment in evidence-based prevention programmes to break the cycle of drug abuse and safeguard the nation’s future.

The President assured continued support for the NDLEA’s initiatives, promising to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure positive outcomes in the next national drug use survey.

He called on religious leaders, traditional leaders, educational institutions, and civil society organizations to join the fight against drug abuse, emphasizing the importance of the NDLEA’s WADA social advocacy initiative.

Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, introduced the ‘Save Our Families’ campaign, aimed at early detection and intervention through special drug test kits for homes, schools, and workplaces.

The initiative, part of the broader Drug Integrity Test programme, targets secondary school students, tertiary institution applicants, workers, political office aspirants, and prospective couples. Marwa highlighted the preventive and deterrent effects of these measures, noting the widespread availability of test kits capable of detecting multiple substances.

Marwa further elaborated on NDLEA’s efforts to reduce drug supply and dismantle trafficking networks. Over the past three and a half years, the agency has arrested 52,901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, secured over 9,000 convictions, and seized 7.6 million kilograms of illicit substances.

He commended the success of the WADA initiative, which has reached millions through grassroots campaigns and media outreach.

Dr. Oliver Stolpe, the outgoing UNODC Country Representative, recommended expanding the UNPLUGGED school-based prevention programme nationwide and enhancing resilience among out-of-school children through sports-based initiatives.

He also stressed the importance of repeating the 2018 national drug use survey to assess the long-term impact of current efforts.

Education Minister Prof Tahir Mamman endorsed NDLEA’s drug test campaign in schools, advocating for compulsory and sustained testing policies. He promised to review existing policies to integrate drug prevention measures across educational levels.

House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Narcotics Chairman, Hon. Abass Adigun, called for increased budgetary support for NDLEA, aligning with the agency’s broad mandate.

Other notable speakers included Senator Sadiq Umar, Attorney General of the Federation Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, and Chairman of MTN Foundation Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, all of whom echoed the need for a united front against drug abuse.

The ceremony, organized by the NDLEA and attended by partner agencies, underscored the federal government’s call for the eradication of drug abuse, particularly among Nigerian youth, by embracing the event’s theme of investing in prevention.

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