The Senate on Tuesday in Abuja asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately declare state of emergency on drug abuse in Nigeria so as to safeguard the future of the country.
The Red Chamber also mandated its Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, to liaise with relevant agencies of government such as National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to convene a national discourse on drug abuse.
These steps, it declared, are very important for relevant stakeholders to take in order to properly understand the root causes of the crisis so as to come up with policies and legislation that can help curb the menace.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion titled: “Urgent Need to address the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria” sponsored to that effect by Senator Babangida Hussaini (APC – Jigawa North-West).
Presenting the motion, Senator Hussaini noted that “Nigeria is presently facing a rise in drug abuse which has reached an unprecedented level, transforming from a mere transit route in the 1990s, into a country filled with drug abusers and drug traffickers all over its land space, while a population of 30 to 35 million spend approximately $15,000 and $30,000 annually on psychotropic drugs and alcoholic beverages, respectively.”
He quoted a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and the European Union on drug use in Nigeria, which states that about 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 are drug abusers.
According to him, the report added that 10.6 million addicts were cannabis users, 4.6 addicts used pharmaceutical opioids and 238,000 drug abusers used amphetamines.
Senator Hussaini said the report further revealed that “the prevalence of drug use per geo-political zone as far back as 2017 shows that the North West accounted for 12% (3,000,000), North East 13.6% (2,090,000), North Central 10.0% (1,500,000), South West 22.4% (4,382,000), South South 16.6% (2,124,000) and the South East zone 13 8% (1,550,000).”
The lawmaker lamented that “a significant number of deaths from accidents and violent crimes have been traced to the activities of persons under the influence of drugs, especially the discovery of more dangerous substances called ‘Kurkura’ in the North and ‘Umkpromiri’ in the South.”
The prevalence of drug abuse in the country, he pointed out, is a public health challenge that seems to be on the increase despite interventions by international, regional, federal and state bodies through laws, policies and technical support.
Senator Hussaini wondered that the war against drug abuse by the NDLEA and other relevant institutions were not providing the required result, and therefore stressed the need to include special drug education as a compulsory subject in the country’s basic education.
He warned that “the consequences of drug abuse will continue to endanger our national development, public safety and family system if urgent action is not taken to strengthen the existing legal, policy and institutional frameworks to face the challenges with all sense of responsibility.”
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