Drug abuse: Declare state of emergency in Nigeria, Governor Wives tell FG, States

Drug abuse: The Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum, (NGSF), has called on the Federal and State Governments to declare a state of emergency on substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria with a view to mobilising resources to tackle the pandemic.

This is contained in a communique signed by the Chairperson of the Forum, Amb. Olufolake Abdulrasaq, wife of Kwara governor on Tuesday in Abuja.

The communique was issued 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.

The governor’s wives stated that there was an urgent need to take control and reinvigorate the State Drug Control Committees (SDCC) for optimal functioning for the States that have one.

The forum noted that it was also important to encourage States that do not have to constitute one, to increase rehabilitation programmes that focused on holistic recovery, addressing both physical and mental health of drug addiction as well as harm reduction.

“Other resolutions in the communique include the need to foster good parenting through parents teachers’ associations, community outreach programs, and to support the NDLEA Drug Integrity Testing Policy.

“This is for early detection of drug users and timely intervention to prevent the progression to addiction/dependency, “the forum stated.

The forum also agreed to work as a body and facilitator toward strengthening collaboration and cooperation between State governments, NDLEA, and other security agencies in the fight against drug use and trafficking;

It also agreed to support the building of at least three standard drug rehabilitation centers, one in each senatorial zone of the State to cater to drug users within the state and reduce the challenges of costs, access, and stigma to drug treatment, it stated.

The governor’s wives also agreed 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 (SDCC) and appoint first ladies of States as chairs of the committees.

This, they said, will be with the NDLEA State Commander as the Secretary, for effective action against drug use prevalence, treatment, and care.

They agreed to adopt the DPTC programs in the States as a Forum project and to be chaired by the first ladies of the States, to help curb the menace of drug use.

They also agreed to foster greater access to treatment for women who use drugs by reducing to the barest minimum stigmatization and cultural pushback;

“Adopts also projects and policies that foster cooperation with private sector and civil society organizations in the development of standardized treatment centres across the States of the Federation;

“Fosters active collaboration with, and providing support to, NDLEA Commands in States with a view to embedding DPTC in all their anti-drug intervention programs.

“Also, the need to create skill acquisition centers and employment opportunities for young people to reduce being lured into drug use and trafficking, “it stated.

The governor’s wives said their resolutions are based on their understanding of “the nexus between drug use and the heightened level of criminality.

The forum also emphasized the increasing number of school dropouts, social and health issues, and family problems, including violent extremism, kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism, and its resultant impact on food security.

“This includes the safety of lives and properties, foreign direct investment, the economy, and national security among others, “the forum stated.

They commended the efforts of NDLEA and the leadership of retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa, in recent years, against drug use and trafficking with resounding successes in the areas of arrests and seizures, prosecutions and convictions.

This, the forum said included 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, Marwa 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 learned to end at the venue but taken to their various states for implementation

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