The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), has said the South-West and South-South have the highest cases of drug abuse in the country.
He also said there is a link between drug abuse and insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, saying these crimes would continue to thrive until the issue of drug abuse was addressed.
Marwa, who is a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, said this in Ogbomoso, Oyo State on Friday during the inauguration of a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts called ‘Behavioural Action Centre’, built by a group known as Ogbomoso First Initiative.
The new NDLEA helmsman said the rate of drug abuse in the South-West had been found to be 22.4 per cent, with the South-South and South-East following with 16.6 and 13.8 per cent, respectively.
According to him, the North-East, North-West and North-Central came after with 13.6, 12 and 10 per cent, respectively.
Marwa said, “We are facing drug challenge in Nigeria but it is a solvable challenge. To achieve this, all stakeholders must come together to solve the problem. Drug challenge does not discriminate between Christians and Muslims. There is no community that is not affected by this debilitating issue.
“Banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and other criminal activities all have their root in the use of hard substances. Until we face the menace squarely, the problem of insecurity will continue to remain with us.”
He urged the traditional rulers, religious centres and schools to rise up against this challenge of drug abuse, especially among the youths.
Commending the Ogbomoso First Initiative for building the rehab centre, Marwa said it was the first rehab centre in the South-West built by individuals.
He urged governors to build at least three rehabilitation centres in their states, saying each senatorial district ought to have one.
He urged Ogbomoso people to also be the first set of people to demand drug free certificate before giving their daughters’ hands in marriage or before allowing their sons to marry any lady. He said by so doing, youths would refrain from drugs because they would know that they would not be allowed to get married with drugs use.
The President, Ogbomoso First Initiative, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, said the association decided to establish the centre as part of its contributions towards making society a better place for everybody.
A former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, also commended the group while condemning the use of hard substances by youths. He said it had become bad that some youths needed drugs to be able to woo a lady.
Earlier, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, speaking during Marwa’s visit to his palace, said the problem of drug abuse needed to be tackled from the family level.
He said if parents don’t engage in drugs abuse, their children would unlikely do so.
The Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom, Oba Sunday Oyediran, promised to support the NDLEA in its campaign against the use of illicit drugs, urging the agency to change its tactics for the war to be more effective.