Winning War Against Drug Abuse Is Crucial To Next Level Mandate – Buhari

Buhari wades into Tiv-Jukun crisis

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says winning the war against drug abuse remains one of the critical elements of the Next Level mandate of his administration.

The President stated this on Friday when he received the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA).

He reiterated the commitment of the government to the welfare of the citizenry by fighting the scourge of drug abuse.

“Winning the war becomes one of the critical elements of the Next Level mandate of this administration. As a government, we have the responsibility to ensure the security and well-being of our people.

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“Our findings have shown that it is more difficult to bring down crime rate to acceptable levels without clearing our country of substance abuse,” the President said.

President Buhari, however, realising the enormity of the menace, solicited for the cooperation of all and sundry. He called on all well-meaning Nigerians and international partners to join hands with relevant government agencies in the fight against drug abuse.

While thanking the committee for its timely and diligent prosecution of the assignment, the President assured that the matter was of utmost importance, and the report would be studied along with the recommendations.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (retd) had told the President that since the committee was inaugurated on December 2018, it interfaced with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Non-Governmental organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Faith-based Organisations, professional bodies, international partners and members of drug user communities with their parents, teachers and caregivers.

He added that the assignment, which took members to all the geopolitical zones of the country, confirmed the fears of President Buhari that Nigeria had a very strong drug problem that needed to be tackled as a national emergency.

He, however, said the key to tackling the menace is a formal launch of a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) as part of the declaration of a state of emergency on the menace as well as the establishment of a National Drug Control Commission.

Drug Abuse: NDLEA Arrests 186 Suspects In Jigawa

obiano, NDLEA, drug war, Anambra

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Jigawa State has arrested 186 suspects and seized 61.24kilograms of various narcotics and psychotropic substances in the state.

The State Commander of the Agency, Barrrister Josephine Ruth, disclosed this on Wednesday at a press conference in the state capital to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse.

According to her, the suspects were accused of abusing drugs such as codeine, cannabis, and other nonconventional substances and the agency has already prosecuted and convicted 22 persons, while 108 persons are undergoing counselling.

Speaking further, she explained that while the agency has faced several challenges in the discharge of its duties such as a shortage of manpower, it continues to partner with sister-agencies to achieve its goals.

“We usually seek assistance from the police when we want to go out for raids in order to complement our strength because we usually face resistance from the suspect because of our number,” Josephine said.

She, however, thanked the state government for its support particularly for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre in the state.

Marwa Calls For Concerted Efforts In Combating Drug Abuse

 

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, (PACEDA), General Buba Marwa Rtd. has called for concerted effort and swift action in combating drug abuse in Nigeria.

Gen Marwa made the call during a courtesy visit to the Acting Governor of Adamawa state, Martins Babale in Yola the Adamawa state capital as part of a nationwide advocacy against drug abuse.

READ ALSO: ‘Drug Trafficking’: Buhari Directs AGF To Take Action Over Detained Student In Saudi Arabia

He stated that statistics has shown the prevalence of drug abuse in the country and President Muhammadu Buhari has asked that necessary recommendations should be made to tackle the scourge.

“It was discovered that in Nigeria between the ages of 15-64, about 15 million use drugs.

“In terms of prevalence according to Geo-political zones; it turns out that the Southwest is about 22% as far as drugs use is concerned, followed by the South south which is about 17 percent.

“President Muhammadu Buhari said that we should tackle the issue of drug abuse directly, by setting up this committee to bring recommendations on the best and urgent steps that should be taken.”

The chairman also highlighted the fact that the prevalence in the North is linked to the increased number of out of school children.

He laments the appalling situation of out of school children in the country and that the case of out of school children must also be addressed to stem the tide of drug usage in the country.

“The Almajiri syndrome must be improved upon and unless it is tackled and get them to combine both the religious and Western education, the north will continue to be backwards.

“There are about 13 million out of school children in Nigeria and 10 million of them are Almajiris.”

Ambode’s Wife Asks Students To Shun Social Vices

Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode (middle), being presented with an appreciation award plague by Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (right) during the 2nd LASU Distinguished Lecture Series at the University Auditorium, Ojo, on Tuesday, 28 August, 2018. With them is SUG President, Olalere Moshood (left).

 

The wife of Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode, has asked students to shun cultism, drug abuse and other social vices.

The governor’s wife made the appeal on Tuesday at the auditorium of Lagos State University (LASU) in Ojo where she was one of the speakers at the second LASU Distinguished Lecture Series.

She urged the students not to bow to peer pressure but make the best use of the knowledge gained in school for self-development.

“No matter the peer pressure, emotional challenge or psychological issues you may be facing, I urge you to say no to drugs, cultism and other vices. One moment of indiscretion is enough to ruin a life,” she said.

Ambode who is also a graduate of LASU described the institution as one of the most prestigious.

She reflected that the founding fathers of the school had a vision of academic distinction for all students that would pass through it, hence the robust academic agenda and the phenomenal rise of the institution.

She said because of the quality of education in that institution, many products of the school had gained global recognition and doing very well in coveted professions around the world.

She commended the university authorities for the establishment of a Career Development Centre, for continuous improvement of LASU graduates, for professional efficiency and effectiveness.

In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun revealed scholastic and professional achievements recorded by the institution.

He noted that the United Nations had just chosen a cohort of millennium fellows from the University, to support its Sustainable Development Goals.

Other such exploits according to him, included an on-going exchange programme with Indiana University, USA, among other inspiring achievements.

Professor Fagbohun stressed that the Centre for Career Development was established to entrench the potential of students, with a vision to chart career pathways and produce employable and marketable graduates, for national and global relevance.

Guest speakers, Joke Silva, Segun Arinze and Mrs Dan-Faparusi Ogugua Enitan, spoke to the students on how to adopt the five Ds of Desire, Determination, Diligence, Dedication and Discipline, in their pursuit of career success, adding that they should get rid of fear and be prepared to start small.

NAFDAC Seeks FG’s Support To Fight Drug Abuse

NAFDAC Seeks FG's Support To Fight Drug Abuse
File photo

 

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is seeking the support of the Federal Government to tackle the menace of drug abuse in the country.

NAFDAC Director General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, revealed this in a statement personally signed by her on Wednesday.

She disclosed that stakeholders are working with the Minister of Health, as well as the Office of National Security Adviser and the Presidency to develop strategies to mitigate the trend.

Professor Adeyeye decried the rate of abuse of prescription medicines and other psychoactive substances not under international control.

According to her, the fundamental objective of the drug control conventions is to achieve a balance between ensuring availability for medical and scientific purposes and preventing diversion to illicit use and abuse.

In this regard, NAFDAC vowed to continually raise awareness of the public health consequences of drug abuse.

They also promised to promote healthy lifestyles through effective and comprehensive demand reduction initiatives, in accordance with the three international drug control conventions and national legislation.

The statement read, “The most commonly abused drugs in the country are tramadol and codeine. tramadol is a synthetic opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain and is the most abused effective medicine among addicts. It has no effects on the respiratory system, but overdose causes arrhythmias, cramps, coma and death.

“In Nigeria, it is regulated as the 50 and 100mg dosage strengths but very high dosage forms of 200 and 225mg have infiltrated the market. There is also a noticeable increase in smuggling of tramadol capsules. tramadol use disorder is associated with physical withdrawal symptoms and compulsive behaviour.”

“Codeine can be obtained in a compound form in Over-The-Counter painkillers and cough medicines, but consumers often became addicted. The risk of addiction is great and, in many countries, including Nigeria consumers require a prescription for all opioid-based medication.

“The misuse of codeine products contributes to severe health outcomes including liver damage, stomach ulceration, respiratory depression, coma and death. In Nigeria, all codeine-containing products are locally manufactured and are prescription-only-medicines since 2012, but the reclassification did not stem the trend of abuse partly due to non-adherence to the provisions of prescription,” it added.

NAFDAC identified the lack of due diligence to ensure the integrity of the distribution chain as the cause of unauthorised persons distributing the products to illicit channels.

In a bid to address the social problems and other threats resulting from drug use, the agency stressed the need for extra-territorial enforcement to identify, disrupt and dismantle organised criminal groups operating across the borders.

They also decried over-prescription by health professionals and overconsumption by the public, as well as the lack of collaborative and inter-professional research among stakeholders that could generate the needed data and justify control at the nation’s borders.

NAFDAC also pointed out the common phenomenon of users by-passing the health facilities and turning directly to pharmacies and medicine stores.

They, however, stated their commitment to implementing the recommendations of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) 2016 outcome document on the safe use of controlled medicines for pain and palliative care and others.

The agency emphasised the need to develop early warning systems that look at the emergence and consequences of the non-medical use of narcotics and psychotropic substances.

NAFDAC Is Denied Access At Ports Unless Invited By Customs – Adeyeye

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Adeyeye

 

The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Adeyeye, has lamented that officials of the agency are often denied access at the nation’s ports unless invited by men of the Customs.

Adeyeye stated this on Wednesday while speaking on a breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, aired on Channels Television.

“I found out NAFDAC is not allowed to be at the ports unless we are invited by the Customs,” she said. “To me that is very wrong. Over the last three months, we have intercepted about 33 containers of Tramadol.”

The NAFDAC boss was speaking on the prevailing cases of drug abuse in the country, especially the consumption of Codeine among youths that make them wrestless.

She, however, reiterated the commitment of her agency in addressing the situation described by many as worrisome.

To Adeyeye, “Some were packaged as building materials but those containers were the ones we were able to intercept.

“They were intercepted at the ports – Tincan Island, Apapa and the Onne in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.”

Adeyeye, who is also a Professor of Pharmaceutics, regretted the addiction of hard drugs by most Nigerians, shortly after the Federal Government decided to clamp down on Codeine.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, announced the ban in Abuja on Tuesday, as contained in a press statement by his Assistant Director of Information, Mr Olajide Oshundun.

In line with the decision, the Ministry of Health directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to stop further issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as an active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations with immediate effect.

The minister said the directive became necessary due to the gross abuse codeine usage has been subjected to in the country.

Earlier, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) announced that Kano State was leading among states notable for abusing drugs with over two million users.

Codeine, a prescription pain medication used to treat mild or moderate pain is a drug which is abused by some youths in the state. It comes in tablet and syrup form and as the main ingredient in the prescription for cough suppressants.

Statistics by NDLEA said despite its efforts to stem the trend in the bud, two million bottles of codeine syrup and thousands of kilograms of narcotics are reportedly being consumed daily in Kano State.

Lagos DNA Centre To Tackle Homicide, Drug Abuse

Lagos DNA Centre To Tackle Homicide, Drug Abuse
File photo

 

The Lagos State government says it has awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre to include a world-class Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Section.

The state government said the expansion was in line with efforts to enlarge the scope of operation of the centre to offer more services.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the ministry, Mr Kayode Oyekanmi.

Kazeem explained that the section was added due to the high incidence and growing cases of homicide and suspicious deaths related to substance, alcohol abuse, drug-related accidents and deaths, as well as suspected cases of poisoning.

“The award of this contract by the state government is in fulfilment of the promise made by His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the commissioning of the Centre in September 2017,” he said.

“The Governor (had) informed Lagosians and the world that the first phase of the centre was that of DNA and Forensic Biology and promised that the state would move to other phases by expanding the scope of operation of the centre to include Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry; Latent and Trace evidence, Firearms and Toolmark, Questioned documents and Digital evidence; to expand the level of services offered by the DNA Centre,” he added.

The commissioner was hopeful that the new section, which would be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of 2018, would automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa.

According to him, the DNA and Forensic Centre in the last three months received over 150 requests for forensic analysis from within and outside Nigeria while over 35 cases have been resolved using forensic technology.

Kazeem added that the centre, since it began operation in September 2017, has become a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of Governor Ambode’s efforts to carry out reforms in the justice sector.

Some of the cases handled by the centre include suspicious death investigations, analysis of human remains that were exhumed to resolve inheritance disputes, child trafficking, rape, impersonation, paternity and maternity issues among others.

The Attorney-General said the centre has held workshops and training for judges, legal practitioners, police, as well as other law enforcement agencies and emergency responders in the state.

He added that several representatives of foreign embassies in Nigeria and international agencies have visited the facility and are willing to partner with the centre.

FG Vows To Tackle Menace Of Drug Abuse

FG Vows To Tackle Menace Of Drug Abuse
File Photo

The Federal Government has vowed to tackle the menace of drug abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs in Nigeria, in order to secure the future of the nation’s youths.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole stated this on Tuesday at the grand finale for the commemoration of the 2017 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Abuja.

He expressed the government’s readiness to tackle the menace through the enforcement of the national drug master plan.

READ ALSO: NDLEA Arrests 123 Suspected Drug Traffickers In Bayelsa

The minister noted that government remains committed to supporting persons who are dependent on drugs to overcome the challenge.

He also reiterated the support of the government for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other agencies saddled with the responsibility of law enforcement.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar decried the increasing cases of drug abuse by children of wealthy people.

On his part, Chairman of the NDLEA, Mohammed Abdallah highlighted how the problem can be addressed while a consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Vincent Udenze further explained how to combat the menace in the country.

Drug Abuse: Oyo Govt Establishes Rehabilitation Centres To Curb Menace

NAFDAC, Drug MonitoringThe Oyo State Government has established rehabilitation centres to checkmate the increasing rate of drug abuse in the state.

The Commissioner for Health Dr. Azeez Adeduntan disclosed this after a consultative meeting with the NDLEA and relevant stakeholders at the Ministry of Health.

The meeting stemmed from the realisation that drug abuse is decaying in the state and can no longer be ignored.

The Commandant of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in the state, Mrs. Omolade Faboyede noted an immediate action must be taken as Oyo accounts for about 40% of the total drug abuse data in Nigeria.

She said the “Data for drug abuse in Oyo state is not cheering so we must now intensify advocacy in schools to instill good morals in pupils and educate them on the dangers of drug abuse right from primary school level”.

Reacting to the disturbing indices of abuse in the state, the Commissioner for Health said it was time to tackle the menace head on, as the government will have to step both preventive and rehabilitative means of reducing the scourge to the barest minimum.

Dr. Adeduntan added that ”six rehabilitation centres in all the geo political zones of the state will be established to treat addicts while we would step up on advocacy to prevent further spread of this problem.

“We cannot pretend it is not here”.

An inter-agency forum among all security agencies has also been sanctioned to wage an unrelenting war against drug abuse in the state.

Schools, religious bodies and social groups  have also been asked to join in the fight to rid the state of illicit drug and its effects.

NDLEA Arrests Nine Suspected Drug Traffickers In Kaduna

NDLEA, Drug Traffickers, Kaduna
Samuel Azige

The Kaduna State Command Of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) has arrested nine suspected drug addicts and peddlers while seizing illicit drugs worth over 30 million Naira from them in Zaria, Kaduna state.

Parading the suspects before journalists at the command’s headquarters in Kaduna, the NDLEA State Commander, Samuel Azige, said that the suspects were arrested during a raid at their hideouts in Zaria where they stored the illicit drugs in a warehouse.

According to him, preliminary investigations revealed that they stored the cartons of banned Tramadol drugs, weighing over 500g, inside a warehouse from which they sell them to ready buyers.

NDLEA, drug trafickers, KadunaHe explained that the drugs, apart from being banned by the World Health Organisation, had also expired and had therefore become harmful for human consumption.

The NDLEA boss who stated that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded, said they had constituted a nuisance as they were also engaged in all forms of vices in the area.

Furthermore, he said the command had made several seizures of illicit drugs amounting to over 20 tons as well as over 50 arrests since the beginning of 2016.

Mr Azige vowed that the agency would not relent on the war against drug abuse and trafficking.

He also warned parents to be mindful of the activities of their children, stating that they are the most vulnerable to drug abuse.

Experts Urge FG To Improve Mental Health Care Delivery

mental health, Mental health experts in Nigeria have decried the high rise in mental disorder cases and have urged the government to invest in this sector of the nation’s health care delivery.

They have called for adequate funding, more psychiatric personnel, as well as creation of policies that would allow the general public to be more open to the realities.

Beyond policy formulation, the experts also say laws and policies must be translated into concrete action to ensure strategic turn around in mental health care delivery in the country.

Pointing out causative factors of mental disorders, they listed prolonged depression, anxiety, drug abuse, mood distortion as some of the components.

As a result of the lack of proper acceptance and understanding of this area of health, sufferers of mental issues fear to come open in the public as there are tendencies of being stigmatized, discriminated or even feelings of vulnerability.

For the extreme cases and those who have gone unchecked, their presence on the streets and among residents no doubt send fears into the spine of many as most of them could be violent at little provocation.

According to statistics, one out of every five Nigerians, has a mental disorder, while an estimated 60/64 million are said to have one form of mental disorder or another with about 80% of this population not seeking medical help.

To effectively address some of the challenges in the mental health sector, a National Health Act was introduced in 2003.

The Act sought to protect the rights of persons with mental disorder, ensure equal access to treatment, discourage stigma and discrimination among others. However, 13 years after, it is still yet to be passed into law.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Mr Babatunde Ipaye speaking on the matter, advocated for increase in funding, adequate personnel, as well as effective incorporation of mental health into primary health care delivery.

According to them, this would help the teeming population of Nigerians who have been exposed to one form of mental challenges or the other (mostly without being aware), as a result of policy somersault and especially in the face of the current economic challenges.

Kano Police Parades Suspects, Recovers Items Worth 5bn Naira

land grabbers-policeKano State Police Command has seized drugs worth five billion Naira and recovered 10,000 unregistered intoxicating drugs. 

Items recovered from the suspects include; 532 parcels of Indian hemp valued at 2.5 million Naira, large quantity of cocaine to be sold at over 2.2 billion Naira, rifles of different caliber, 250 stolen rice, cars and motorcycles

Presenting the items to the state Governor, the Commissioner of Police, Musa Katsina, said that 45 suspects with arms were arrested, while 13 people caught with fake passport were apprehended.

According to the state Police Commissioner, having cleared Falgore Forest off the cattle rustlers, it now became necessary to put Kano among the least drug consuming state in Nigeria.

Receiving the exhibits from the Police, the state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, expressed his government’s interest over the cases related to drug abuse, armed robbery and cattle rustling.

The Governor explained that the state government will not seat back while courts releases convicted criminals only to go back to their crimes.

Meanwhile, 12 youths from Edo State who were arrested with fake passport travelling to Libya, told the governor that they decided to leave Nigeria due to unemployment.

He requested that the State Chief Security Officer should temper justice with mercy and return them to their state.

In the meantime, the Police said it will hand the suspects over to relevant authorities for necessary prosecution while they continue their unsought against criminals in the state.