The Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig-General Mohamed Buba Marwa, says operatives of the NDLEA have on several occasions apprehended politicians in possession of illegal drugs.
General Marwa who stated this while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Hard Copy on Friday, said he was somewhat disappointed that the drive to have political officers undergo drug tests before they assume office did not scale through.
He said the whole idea was not originally his, adding that the practice had already started taking place in Kano State, and as such, the NDLEA was only trying to promote the good initiative which would also have had a great effect on the war against illicit drug use.
“We have arrested politicians who either are holding political office or have retired. Recently one of them was jailed in Lagos, he was trying to smuggle 1kg, maybe to use it to run for office,” Marawa asserted.
“As you know, the cartels also participate in political institutions, they actually fund candidates into the various levels so that the correct laws are enacted” to favour their course.
Speaking on the push to rehabilitate victims of drug use, the NDLEA boss admitted that there is a dearth of rehab centres while many Nigerians need help.
Gen Marwa explained that there are about 11 model rehabilitation centres in the country which is very low, however, he noted that the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) recommended that there should be about three centres per state looking at the prevalence.
He disclosed that the Federal Government has agreed to build one more rehab centre in each state, adding that the NDLEA will continue to do its best in the area of counselling.
According to him, the agency is already commissioned a toll free helpline for those scourged by abusive drug use. The number is – 080010203040.
The NDLEA Chairman assured Nigerians that the agency will have ready, teams of Psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and nurses to attend to those who call the helpline and visit the help centres.
He said the agency is partnering with a consultant psychologist who would facilitate a 24/7 helpline and centre where experts will meet with all those in need.
Marwa’s comments come two days before the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, which is marked on the 26th of June every year.
This year, the United Nations theme is “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”.
On this day, the United Nation’s Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) urges individuals, entire communities, and various organizations all over the world to join in observing the World Drug Day to help raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs pose to society.
“From warzones to refugee camps to communities torn apart by violence, people in all parts of the world are in dire need.
This year, UNODC is addressing transnational drug challenges stemming from situations of crisis.
We continue to advocate to protect the right to health for the most vulnerable, including children and youth; people using drugs; people with drug use disorders; and people who need access to controlled medicines,” a statement from the UNODC reads.
The world body says everyone can do their part by sharing real facts on the drugs situation— from health risks and solutions to tackle the world drug problem to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care resources in times of crises.