– expresses sadness over Nigeria’s worsening security challenge,
Ibrahim Obansa, Lokoja
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), has said that no fewer than 14.3 million Nigerians, mostly young people and adults from the age of 16 to 64 years are into drugs abuse, with cannabis being the commonly abused substance.
Maruwa who was speaking weekend, at this year’s Ogidi Day Festival, in Ogidi-ijumu, Kogi State, noted that at least 10.6 million people are addicted to cannabis in the past years, adding that what is most heartbreaking is that majority of them are young people who are initiated into cannabis use around the age of 19.
According to him there is also an increasing use of other psychotropic drugs, especially heroin, again, by a growing number of young people who he said are mostly initiated at the age of 22 years.
He called for prayers for God’s intervention in the area of the nation’s worsening security challenges, saying that the state of insecurity in the country calls for sober reflection, even as he said the life of Nigerians is now characterized daily by unprovoked attacks, senseless killings and other grave crimes
In his words “As we gather here today, I will implore each of us to take a few minutes for sober reflection and pray for Nigeria. But for the relative peace in Kogi State, this festival would not have been staged in this grand way.
“There are several places across Nigeria where people and communities have abandoned festivals and other celebrations of their cultural heritage for years now because of the security situation in the country. The state of insecurity in the country calls for sober reflection because our national life is now characterised daily by unprovoked attacks, senseless killings and other grave crimes.
“More than ever before, our country is seriously seeking to entrench peace and security. This reflects in the urgency and the magnitude of commitment devoted to tackling destructive manifestations such as banditry and Boko Haram insurgency as well as the strategic measures being employed by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to neutralise the enabling factors of insecurity.
“This is the backdrop to the NDLEA’s renewed war on abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs, identified as one of the major enablers of crimes and by extension, catalysts of insecurity.
“The dangers of drug abuse and drug trafficking stare us in the face, whether here in Kogi State, or farther in the East, or up North or in Southwest. Many lives have been wrecked directly by the abuse of drug and many homes broken and destroyed by addiction to drugs.
“We cannot quantify the pain and anguish that have been inflicted on families and communities by murderous groups and individuals who are emboldened in their nefarious activities by the psychoactive influence of illict drugs.
“We daily face crimes that are difficult to comprehend. How do you explain the action of a son who beheaded his mother and dumped her mutilated body in a refuse dump? Or a son who killed his father, a respectable citizen and Senior Advocate of Nigeria? Neither can we comprehend the actions of various groups who rampage across the country, unleashing mayhem.
“These crimes leave us speechless. Most often, we conclude that those who perpetrate these crimes are “not in the right frame of mind.” And indeed, they are not. Most of them act under the influence of mind-altering substances. We don’t need to stretch our imagination far to connect the dots that there is an element of drug abuse in the evil equation of insecurity.
“From the vantage position I occupy, as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, I am very saddened and unhappy with what I am seeing. Let me share with you the worrying statistics of drug abuse in Nigeria.
“That is why I am delighted to be here today as it affords me the unique opportunity to appeal directly to parents, elders and community leaders to awaken to the urgent and solemn task of saving our children and loved ones from the calamity of drug abuse.
“I am delighted to be here today and share the joy of this year’s celebration of Ogidi Day with all the good people of Ogidiland, both at home and abroad. It is exhilarating to see people from all corners of this great country present here today on this festive occasion.
“This is the joy, happiness, and excitement we desire and pray for every community in Nigeria. I wish Kabiyesi, Ologidi of Ogidi, Oba Rabiu Oladimeji Sule and the entire people of Ogidi a beautiful celebration. May God Almighty grant us many more prosperous celebrations.
“In conclusion, I am thanking Kabiyesi, the Ologidi of Ogidi, for the recognition accorded me and your encouragement. I am very happy to be part of today’s historic occasion. I believe that together with you all, we shall lift Nigeria out of the darkness of drug abuse.