Govs’ wives want state of emergency declared on drug abuse

The Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum has called on the Federal and State Governments to declare a state of emergency on substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

The appeal was part of the resolutions in a communique signed by the Chairperson of the Forum and First Lady of Kwara state, Olufolake Abdulrasaq on Tuesday at the end of a two-day Drug Prevention Treatment and Care training organised by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for wives of state governors in Abuja.

The First Ladies acknowledged the urgent need to take control and reinvigorate the State Drug Control Committees for optimal functioning for the states that have one and encourage states that do not have to constitute one.

They also harped on the need to increase rehabilitation programmes that focus on holistic recovery, addressing both the physical and mental health of drug addiction as well as harm reduction.

The governors’ wives also stressed the need for “the Federal Government and state governors to declare a state of emergency on illicit drug use and trafficking pandemic to mobilise resources to tackle it.”

The communique stated, “The need to foster good parenting through parents teachers associations, community outreach programmes and to support the NDLEA Drug Integrity Testing Policy for early detection of drug users and timely intervention to prevent the progression to addiction/dependency.

“Agrees to work as a body and facilitator towards strengthening collaboration and cooperation between State governments, NDLEA, and other security agencies in the fight against drug use and trafficking.

“Agrees also to support the building of at least three standard drug rehabilitation centres, one in each senatorial zone of the State to cater for drug users within the states and reduce the challenges of costs, access and stigma to drug treatment.”

They also agreed to liaise with the state governors to facilitate the establishment of the States Drug Control Committees for effective action against drug use prevalence, treatment, and care.

“The Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment and Care programmes in states as forum project, and to be chaired by the first ladies of the States, to help curb the menace of drug use and fostering greater access to treatment for women who use drugs by reducing to the barest minimum stigmatisation and cultural push back.

“Adopts also projects and policies that foster cooperation with private sector and civil society organisations in the development of standardised treatment centres across the States of the Federation.

“Fosters active collaboration with, and providing support to, NDLEA Commands in states with a view to embedding DPTC in all their anti-drug intervention programmes; and realises the need to create skill acquisition centres and employment opportunities for young people to reduce being lured into drug use and trafficking,” the communiqué further stated.

The governors’ wives explained that the resolutions were based on their understanding of the nexus between drug use and a heightened level of criminality, the increasing number of school dropouts, social and health issues, and family problems, among others.

While commending the NDLEA Chairman, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa, (Retd), the governors’ wives assured the agency of their preparedness to take the knowledge gained during the training to their states for further action.

Responding, Marwa, urged the women not to allow lessons learnt at the training to end at the venue, but to take them to their various states for implementation.


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