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Marwa seeks governors’ wives support in fight against drug abuse

“We are privileged to have the support of the northern governors’ spouses forum and its leadership.’’

• May 15, 2024
Buba Marwa
NDLEA chairman, Buba Marwa

The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), has called on the wives of northern governors to support the fight against drug abuse in their respective states.

Mr Marwa made the call in Gombe in a speech during a stakeholders’ meeting titled: “Substance abuse: Northern governors’ wives call for action.”

He said that the fight against the menace needed all stakeholders’ effort to achieve meaningful success and rid the country of illicit drugs.

Represented by Mr Shadrach Haruna, the agency’s secretary, Mr Marwa said that the challenge of drug abuse was a growing public health concern and the severity of the situation was a reminder that everyone had roles to play.

“Today, we are privileged to have the support of the northern governors’ spouses forum and its leadership, who have come together to call for action on this pressing issue. Their advocacy is an impetus to creating more awareness about the urgency of the situation and the need for concerted efforts to address it comprehensively and in the best practice method of the whole-of-society approach.

“To make headway in our effort, we need to get society to take ownership of the anti-drug abuse initiative. This is because, with a sense of shared responsibility among citizens, our effort would easily yield the desired results. You are in the best position to mobilise and engage stakeholders in their respective states to support prevention actions and treatment efforts,” he said.

Quoting the 2018 National Drug Use Survey, he said about 14.3 million Nigerians, aged between 15 and 64, abused psychoactive substances other than tobacco and alcohol.

He noted that the estimated annual prevalence of drug users in the North-East zone is 13.6 per cent (which translates to over two million users).

“Gombe State alone, however, has a 21 per cent prevalence, which is higher than the national estimate,” he said.

Mr Marwa called for the prioritisation of treatment using rehabilitation centres which he said was symbolic of the collective resolve to confront the scourge of addiction with compassion and humanity.

He said rehabilitation centres give assurance that individuals with drug use disorders would get treatment for their physical ailments and support for their emotional and psychological well-being, through counselling, therapy and vocational training.

“Facts from the national survey made us aware that one in five persons who use drugs in Nigeria are suffering from drug use disorders. Unfortunately, there is a huge gap in the availability and accessibility of drug treatment services in the country.

“We are calling for the prioritisation of the availability of treatment centres, including the establishment of gender-specific treatment facilities and programmes that would take into account the specific needs of women,” he said.

The NDLEA boss commended Hajiya Asma’u Yahaya, and the chairperson of the Northern Governors’ Spouses’ Forum for rehabilitating and equipping the NDLEA rehabilitation centre in the state.

In her speech earlier, Ms Yahaya decried the increasing use of drugs especially amongst women and particularly housewives.

She said that the ease at which illicit drugs could be accessed had become a cause for concern, adding that such drugs were now being sold online.

She pledged the forum’s commitment to partnering with NDLEA towards tackling the menace in Northern Nigeria.

Prior to the event, 60 women were given empowerment tools ranging from sewing machines, grinding machines and deep freezers to enable them to become self-sufficient and support their families.

(NAN)

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