NDLEA Boss, Marwa Reels Out Achievements In One Year

By Nosa Aituamen

Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen.Buba Marwa (Retd) says, a total of 17,647 drug offenders and 10 barons have been arrested in the past 17 months.

While over 2,369 were convicted and jailed and more than 11,000 drug users  counselled and treated within the same period.

Giving a breakdown of its activities in the last one year and to kick start activities at a news conference in Abuja to mark this year’s UN day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking under the theme “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises”, the NDLEA boss said changing dynamics have forced a paradigm shift that encompasses a balanced approach to tackling the drug problem in the country.

While stating that the Agency’s Drug Demand Reduction Department had been galvanised and working non-stop to ensure that the health aspect of the drug abuse calculus is getting adequate attention, he said a number of other measures are being taken to strengthen the process.

“ The Agency’s policy of Drug Integrity Test is predicated on getting help to drug users suffering in silence because they cannot seek the needed health treatment due to social stigma and discrimination. This is why in a short while from now, we’ll be unveiling the NDLEA Call Centre that will be manned by professionals and experts in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and more to offer help to drug users who will make use of our toll-free lines to seek counselling 24/7.

While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for the support so far given to the Agency to fulfill its mandate, Brig. Gen. Marwa also recognised immense contributions from international partners such as EU, UNODC and other stakeholders in the fight against the drug menace.

In his remarks, Country Representative of UNODC, Mr. Oliver Stolpe urged governments at all levels in Nigeria, candidates for political offices and international partners not to lose sight of the public health crisis caused by drug use in the country.

“Based on the 2017/2018 data, we estimated that close to 6 million persons in Nigeria could be living with a drug use dependency. This creates a massive public health challenge.

“Our key policy asks on this World Drug Day to the Federal and state governments, to the international development partners as well as to the candidates for political office is not to lose sight of the public health crisis caused by drug use”.

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