By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja |
The federal government has said that successful fight against drug trafficking
will help to deny or reduce funding for insurgency, saying it was common knowledge that drug money is being used to finance insurgency and terrorism.
Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and illicit use of drugs in the country.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this while receiving the executive chairman of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), during a courtesy visit in Abuja on Thursday, said the war against illicit drug and trafficking was one of the most important tasks in the country today.
The Minister said this is because drug trafficking, money laundering by traffickers and the use of illicit drugs affect the nation’s security, well-being of the citizens, the moral fabric of our society and even governance.
He noted that restoring the visibility of the NDLEA for local and international partnership and boosting the morale of staff has attracted international support and ”offensive action” against drug cartels that has led to the arrest of 2,175 drug traffickers, seizure of 2,050,765.33 kilogrammes of illicit drugs as well as cash and drug seizures worth N75billion.
According to him, “The kind of vicious banditry and kidnapping for ransom that our country has witnessed in recent times cannot be totally separated from illicit drug use and their effects on users who take to crime.
“Drug trafficking proceeds are sometimes ingested into legitimate businesses, making hard-working and honest people look indolent.
“What about the effect of drug trafficking on the moral fabric of the society. This society rarely questions the source or sources of people’s wealth. That’s why drug traffickers end up becoming role models in the society, with devastating consequences for our young ones.”
He said even governance is not spared as drug traffickers and money launderers contest and win elections into high offices, where they help shape policy.
“Just imagine the damage this can do to governance and indeed to any nation. This is why I want to once against commend Gen. Marwa for raising the bar in the fight against drug cartels and the use of illicit drugs with the new maxim, offensive action,” he said.
He said the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will work with you to give maximum publicity to your activities, especially in the area of advocacy.
“To date, we have launched a number of national campaigns. It will not be a bad idea for the Ministry, working with the NDLEA, to launch a national campaign against drug trafficking and use of illicit drugs.
“I will also encourage the NDLEA to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which has set up Integrity Clubs in Secondary Schools nationwide, to reach the young ones with its campaign against drug use,” he added.
Earlier in his remark, the NDLEA chairman, Marwa, said drug abuse has assumed an alarming proportion in Nigeria, which, he said, has about 15 million drug users between the age bracket of 15 and 64, 25% of whom are females.
Marwa, who corroborated the Minister’s observation that drug abuse has been fueling insecurity in the country, said the agency had arrested two traffickers from Niger Republic and Chad, who confessed to supplying illicit drugs to bandits.
He sought the collaboration of the ministry and its agencies to launch a nationwide public sensitization on drug demand reduction drive through advocacy programmes in the media in order to curb drug abuse in the country.
Marwa commended the minister for the excellent work he has been doing, along with the agencies under him, ”to promote the good work of the Federal Government and the country as a whole”.
“The confidence and versatility of the Minister on issues of governance and information management have never been in doubt,” the NDLEA chairman stated.