Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Buba Marwa (Retd) has called on all tertiary institutions in Nigeria to make drug integrity test an institutional policy for both new and returning students as part of efforts to fight the menace of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
General Marwa who made the call at the University of Abuja while launching the ‘drug free university campaign’ on Wednesday 9th February, 2022, says the essence of the event is to officially launch the WADA Club in the University of Abuja and to formally inaugurate the War Against Drug Abuse Ambassadors (WADA Ambassadors) among the staff of the institution.
In a statement, the NDLEA Chairman says, the goal of WADA is to mobilize all Nigerians, especially the youth population, for active participation in the process of ridding the society of the drug menace.
He called for partnership between the NDLEA and the university system that will allow the agency set up outposts on campuses to further strengthen the authorities in fighting the scourge.
While commending the management of the University of Abuja for collaborating with the NDLEA to organise the launch, says the theme, ‘Drug-Free University and Tertiary Institutions,’ is apt and timely as there is no better time than now to combat the drug challenge in the university community and among students.
According to him, “Part of the measures to reduce drug use in the university is the proposed introduction of the Drug Integrity Test for both new and returning students. The Drug Integrity Test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. It is expected that the University of Abuja, being the “University of National Unity”, will be the first public university in Nigeria to adopt the Drug Integrity Test for fresh and returning students of the institution. The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care.”
According to him, the menace of drug use in the country is of worrisome dimension, especially among the youth population.
The NDLEA boss adds that, some years ago, the Agency opted to address the drug problem among youths by setting up in schools the Drug Free Clubs, the pervasiveness and magnitude of the drug use problem which necessitated the change in the name of the club from Drug Free Club to War Against Drug Abuse Club―WADA Club for short―to inject a renewed vibe and vigour into the club and its members.
“And it is instructive and worrisome to know that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis. Note that these age groups comprised of young people who are either in secondary or tertiary institutions or are on the cusp of graduation. To simplify the report of the survey: young people are overwhelmingly the majority of drug abusers in Nigeria”.
“To aggressively reverse the trend, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, GCFR, launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign on 26th June 2021 to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking”.
He charged the students in the spirit of true patriotism to desire and work towards a country devoid of drugs and its attendant consequences.
Representatives of the Minister of Education, National Universities Commission, and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah who spoke at the event, commended the collaboration between NDLEA and the university as part of renewed efforts to stamp out the problem of drug abuse in the country.