The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has advocated for tougher drug trafficking sentences, including eliminating the possibility of fines for drug offenders.
According to a statement released on Monday at the Institute of Change Management’s annual dinner in Lagos, the agency’s Chairman, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (retd.) remarked this.
Marwa, who was represented by Omolade Faboyede, Director of Seaport Operations, talked on the topic of “Drug Abuse in Nigeria: Changing the Narrative.”
He said, “It is worrisome that we have some of our officers lose their lives in the course of battling with drug traffickers. But at the end of the day, some of these offenders when taken to court, are just fined and they later return to the same business.
“This is a worrisome trend that we are trying to correct in other to make the punishment stiffer.”
Marwa further explained that the drug problem in Nigeria is massive, adding that an aggressive reduction in drug supply should be embarked on.
He added, “The National Drug Use Survey 2018 indicated that 14.3 million Nigerians representing 14.4 per cent of the country’s population used psychoactive substances aside from alcohol.
“As chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, I had a clear view of the situation and what should be done to reverse the trend.
“Basically, we have to shut down the pipeline. That is, take the traffickers and their barons out of the picture. We have to embark on an aggressive drug supply reduction campaign.
“It is to this end that we launched the War Against Drug Abuse campaign which is meant to, in the long run, help prevent the entrenchment of drug abuse culture among young people in the society.”
The choice of the issue, according to Nathaniel Osewele, President of ICM, was motivated by the need to further expand the conversation on the rising tide of hard drug addiction and abuse in society, particularly among youngsters.