Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jul 2011
Source: Vanguard (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2011 Vanguard.
Author: Suzan Edeh


When the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in Bauchi State,
started its fight against crime, it discovered that 75 percent of
youths in the state were under the influence of drugs.

This explains why criminal activities are increasing everyday in the
State. Apart from youths who get involved in drug abuse, others engage
in the sale of hard drugs because it is seen as a lucrative business
and a ready source of income. Some of these drug merchants are highly
placed persons in the society. The Agency collaborated with all the
security agencies in the State in the investigation, arrest and
prosecution of suspects in courts.

Against this backdrop, the agency took advantage of the June 26
celebration by the United Nations against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug
Trafficking in the world to embark on a campaign to sensitize the
state government, stakeholders, youths and media practitioners on the
dangers of drug abuse and trafficking. It also used the occasion to
educate the public on what drug abuse is all about and how they can
identify these drugs.

Apart from just creating awareness on drug abuse, the agency took
steps to encourage members of the public to join in the war against
drug abuse. The occasion was graced by Governor Isa Yuguda's
representative and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social
Development, Mr John Naina; the wife of the Governor and initiator of
Challenge Your Disability Initiative, CYDI, Hajiya Abiodun Hauwa
Yuguda; media practioners; staff of Bauchi NDLEA; NGOs and security
agents in the state. Since drug abuse is a national problem and
requires collaborative efforts of all to fight the scourge, the
stakeholders and youths drawn from primary, secondary and tertiary
institutions attended the event.

The Bauchi State NDLEA also took the campaign against drug abuse to
the doortsteps of primary and secondary schools by forming club and
associations to drum support for the campaign among the youths in
these institutions.

Drug education

They also used the occasion to task the youths to refrain from abusing
drugs. It was in the light of this that the Federal Government
introduced drug education, so that youths can be sensitised against
drug abuse at a very tender age. A curriculum has alreadybeen
developed by the Federal Government to enhance the teaching of drug
abuse in schools across the country.

The Bauchi Commandant of the NDLEA, Mr Sule Mamadu, who highlighted
the activities of the agency in the state said: "There is a need to
ensure that our communities are drug-free and that is why the United
Nations has chosen this day for the campaign against drug abuse in the
world. When drugs are abused, they usually result to all manner of
crimes being committed in the society. When you see hoodlums behave
the way they do, they are under the influence of drugs.

These drugs when abused, have the ability to rid one of his or her
senses. We have a lot of them, ranging from suck and die, tyre
solution, Indian hemp, cocaine, pit toilets, gutters and nicotine and
many more. Drugs do not augur well for the society and when there is
threat to life and property, there can be no development".

He declared that the war against drug abuse and illicit drug
trafficking is a war for everybody to fight. According to him, gone
are the days when people leave law enforcement agencies to do all the
work; now everyone has a stake in solving the problem of drug abuse.

Drug rehabilitation centre

The State Commandant revealed that the Command presently runs a drug
rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in the State, adding that so
far, the Command has rehabilitated 36 drug addicts and convicted eight
persons in court this year.

Mr. Mamadu who stated that the Command has 125 cases pending before it
at the Federal High Court, however warned the defence counsels who use
all avenues like adjournments and other technicalities to knock-off
cases of suspects, to refrain from such acts because "if the defence
counsels continue in this manner, they will not only be promoting
crime in the state, they will make some of these suspects

He then used the occasion to ask the State Government to hasten the
passage of a legislation on drug abuse by the Bauchi State House of
Assembly. He also sought the assistanace of the State Government to
enable the Agency build a modern drug abuse rehabilitation centre for
drug addicts.

Vanguard Metro sought to know from a staff of the Nigerian Civil
Defence, Abdul Garba, the nature of the partnership the Defence and
other security agencies forged with the NDLEA towards apprehending
drug addicts and people who traffick in drugs. He had this to say:
"The fight against drug abuse should not be left for the NDLEA alone;
it should be a combined effort of all security agents in the State.
This includes members of the public. This is because when crime is
committed, we will all be affected; nobody can say that he or she is
not involved in this war".

He called the state government to equip the various security agencies
in the state with adequate security facilities such as good patrol
vehicles, security alerts, ambulances and other incentives to make
their jobs easier.

Mr. Abdul Garba also appealed to security agents to be more proactive
in the fight against crime and drug abuse, because according to him:
"If we as security agents show more commitment towards security issues
in the state and do our jobs effectively, we will minimise, to a large
extent, problems like bomb explosions rocking various parts of the
country in the recent times. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.