Blessing Akpakpan, Abuja
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is collaborating with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA to tackle substance and drug abuse in the country.
At a Psychosocial Support and Integration of Victims of Drug and Substance Abuse held at NDLEA Rehabilitation Facility in Gudu, Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq said that the objective of the collaboration is to free the society from the scourge of drugs and substance abuse which has caused untold misery to individuals and families.
SA media to the minister, Nneka Ikem Anibeze said in a statement that the Minister who was represented by the Director Humanitarian Affairs Department, Alhaji Ali Grema stated that the federal government is determined to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of a free drug society.
“This meeting is part of our commitment to deal with the menace and issues surrounding drug abuse and provide an avenue for the expression of collaborative commitment of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency to combat the problem in all its forms.
“As a Ministry charged with the responsibility of Social Development, we want to begin a process of focusing on the socio- economic challenges faced by the clients of illicit drugs and substance abuse, not only in Abuja but throughout the federation”.
The Minister called on youths in particular to refrain from abusing drugs and other harmful substances as they are injurious to health with potentials of destroying their future.
Umar Farouq noted that the most effective tool to combat drug use is to strengthen prevention programmes and treatment for victims.
“In view of this, the Ministry will provide National Social Investment Programme opportunities for victims under rehabilitation by the NDLEA. Clients will undergo training in their various choice skills and will be equipped with starter packs for easy integration into the society”.
Earlier, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA Brig. Gen. Mohaammed Buba Marwa (Rtd) OFR who was represented by the Agency’s Secretary, Barrister Shedrack Haruna described the programme as laudable and the first of its kind.
“The use of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as prescription medications exert tremendous toll on the individual, families and the society. Substance abuse affects the physical, social and psychological levels of the user and family members.
“Findings from the National Drug Use Survey (2018) conducted by UNODC reviewed that 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years had used psychoactive substances in the past year for non- medical purposes. More worrisome is that out of this figure, about 370,000 Nigerians have drug use disorder and in every 4 drug users in Nigeria, 1 is a woman.
“Globally, there is a shift in drug policy which sees drug as a public health issue. Therefore, reducing the demand for drugs depends to a large extent on the successful treatment and reintegration of people who use drugs”.
The Chairman congratulated the clients for being the first beneficiaries of the Social Investment Programmes and charged them to be good ambassadors.
He also thanked the ministry for providing starter packs to equip the clients with skills to facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration to their families and society.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs donated 20 Tablets, 5 industrial Gas Cookers, 5 industrial frying pans and spoons for the rehabilitation of the clients.
At the occasion also was Dr Ngozi Madubuike Director Drug Demand Reduction NDLEA, John Yakubu, Director General Services Department, Tokumbo Rufai Director Human Resource Management and Sule Chogudo Director Social Development.
Nadia Muhammed -Soso, Head Special Duties, Sarah Ogah, Executive Director The Amina Agbo Foundation TAAF, Nsikak Okon Team Lead N-Power, Barrister Zainab Halim, actress Jumoke Odetola and other dignitaries spoke at the event.