MARWA MUSES #5: OUR STRATEGIES AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKING
The Chairman/CEO of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) explains the new approach adopted by the anti-narcotic agency in the fight against the abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs. Excerpts:
Outline of strategies
"We have to draw a balance between the drug supply reduction―which is the offensive strategy of seizure, arrest, prosecution, the general law enforcement―and the drug demand reduction. To this end, we have reorganized the Drug Demand Reduction Directorate at the agency and it has simmered down to the state command. We are going to elevate it and give it more work and prominence at the state level.
We are reinforcing our efforts in the preventive aspect too. A lot of advocacy actions have to go in that direction, and the country must start now. We must go to the grassroots, to the family. Our children need to be properly brought up and well-disciplined from the onset because that’s really the beginning of these things. Then the communities. We have requested the establishment of drug control committees across all communities because the drug malaise is now everywhere. No community in Nigeria is exempted. Therefore, the work starts at the community level.
Then the educational system. We are working with the Federal Ministry of Education who already has drug education as part of its curriculum. We will start the process from primary schools. We will encourage Drug-free Clubs and also introduce drug testing.
We have counselling and rehab for those who are already using drugs. Although we have a shortage of rehab centres presently, it is an area that we can build on.
Scope of advocacy
We are getting the support of the government and also stakeholders. They are really coming around. It’s like everybody in Nigeria knows this is a problem that we must collectively resolve. Hence, as we move in the direction of advocacy, we will expand it to the traditional institutions, religious institutions, labour, including organised bodies such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
We shall drive the drug test regime. At NDLEA, we have gone through the process. I have taken mine with my staff, and it's going to be expanded. Already, some government institutions have done this: Immigration has led the way, NNPC, Accountant General office. We will expand it to security agencies too even as we work to seal our partnerships with all of these organizations.
Message for Nigerians
One: NDLEA we will block and interrupt access and availability of drugs throughout Nigeria and of course going out and coming into Nigeria.
Two: This is for those who haven't started taking drugs: DON’T START! Leave that territory alone. SAY NO TO DRUGS!
If you are already taking drugs (those who are taking drugs know it is something they want to get out of), do not be afraid to seek help. You should not be afraid of the stigma. Go for counselling and rehabilitation."
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