The federal government has called on individuals and various organisations to join hands with the country in the fight against substance abuse scourge, in order to create a drug free state.
This was stated by President Bola Tinubu at the MTN Anti Substance Abuse stakeholders conference held in commemoration of the World Drug Day in Abuja.
Representing Tinubu, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, George Akume said: “it is crucial we educate ourselves and others on the dangers of drug abuse and the need to stop stigma and discrimination. We must empower our youths with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their lives and provide them the resources they need to avoid falling victims to drug abuse.
“We must also support those struggling with drug addictions and provide them with treatments and necessary support they need to overcome their addiction.
We stand together to reaffirm our commitment to combating drug abuse and illicit drug usage.”
The president assured everyone present that the administration is committed to the principle of people first, in the context of drug prevention and treatment.
In his response, chairman and chief executive officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa said: “NDLEA remains committed to the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
“We have intensified our operations, expanded our intelligence networks and collaborated with local and international partners to dismantle drug cartels, seize illicit drugs and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“In the past 29 months, 31,675 drug offenders have been brought to book, among them 35 girls. So far, 5147 have earned jail terms, with over 6252 tonnes of illicit drugs seized. Some of the prosecuted offenders have forfeited their ill-gotten wealth to the government.”
He added that, “this is even as we continue to prioritize prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, ensuring that those affected by drugs are given the necessary support and care that they need to rebuild their lives. To this end, NDLEA commissioned a drug abuse sport center with a 24/7 tow free helpline 0800 1020 3040 to attend to individuals with drug challenges and their families.”
The director, MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro said, “as a matter of urgency, we must scale up this fight against illicit drug use. So we can in the shortest possible time, have a nation free of drug abuse. We need to begin to look at this issue as an emergency and deal with it as such.”
The MTN Anti-Substance Abuse Project (ASAP) is a multi-sectoral initiative spearheaded by the MTN Foundation to impact and make a significant change in the fight against substance abuse and addiction by delivering interventions that will help reduce the rate of first-time drug abuse among the youth.