According to the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, there are 15 million drug addicts in Nigeria.
This was made known by the Chairman of the committee, Buba Marwa, who said of Nigeria’s estimated population of about 180 million, there are 15 million drug addicts.
He made this claim known on Wednesday, in Kaduna, in the company of members of his committee, when he addressed officers and men of Katsina Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Buba Marwa, who was former military governor of Lagos State, referred to the development as alarming, stating that the global average rating of drug use and abuse is five per cent, while Nigeria is at 15 per cent. He said;
We have an emergency situation before us regarding the issue of drugs abuse in Nigeria
Marwa had earlier visited the Katsina Government House, where he told Governor Aminu Bello Masari that the committee commenced work last December.
“We started our work since December and finished the plenary and now we are visiting states across the country.
“On the whole, we are facing the supply side of drugs, in terms of cutting the supply because you must have drugs first before the use. Government agencies involved need to be strengthened to be able to carry out their functions effectively, and the demand side appears to be more difficult to handle.
“We also need to take the preventive measures to ensure that those who do not take the drugs remain so. We have to interface with esteemed leaders across the country. We feel that there ought to be committees on drug abuse, right from the federal to the local governments and across the communities.
“We do not know that the causes of drug abuse include, but it’s not limited to poverty, joblessness and idleness which translate to looking for jobs. Rehabilitation and counselling centres are few. We will interface with religious organisations and traditional leaders and also examine the Almajiri situation and embellish with western education. The Almajiris, in the course of their training, do other things that are not good for them.”