A part of measures aimed at reducing drugs and substance abuse across Nigeria, the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, has recommended drug integrity test for politicians, students, among others in the country.
He stated since running for public offices remains a big responsibility, it was important for Nigerians seeking elective positions and appointments be made to undergo an integrity drug test before assuming the positions.
The tests, Marwa said, would help in reducing the rising incidence of drugs and substance abuse across the country by Nigerians from different backgrounds.
The NDLEA boss, who is also a former military governor of Lagos State, added that youths across the country, particularly tertiary institutions students be made to undergo the test towards reducing statistics of drug abuse among students.
Marwa who spoke yesterday when he paid Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a courtesy visit, urged the governor to support the agency fight in ensuring Lagos take the lead in demonstrating to the country the importance of taking “integrity” drug tests.
“You shouldn’t be in this important assignment for the public, and your head is filled up because of drugs,” he told Sanwo-Olu.
Explaining the menace of drug abuse further, the NDLEA chairman noted, “the drug scourge is now an epidemic in Nigeria. The prevalence is 15 percent, three times the global average. One in seven Nigerians takes drugs. We have found out that there is a nexus between drug use and crime.
“We felt that Lagos can show the way first with an integrity drug test for students because it is our youths that are affected mostly; students, especially those in tertiary institutions, should do drug tests.”
He, however, commended the governor for providing effective leadership in Lagos, and the efforts being made to address drug abuse in the State.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was building a “full-fledged” mental health rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejinrin, Lagos East Senatorial District, to tackle drug abuse effects.
He added that the state would continue to collaborate with NDLEA to address the drug crisis. According to him, the state has put in place measures to tackle the drug crisis.
The governor gave the assurance that his administration would further collaborate with different commands of NDLEA in Lagos.
Acknowledging the drug abuse situation, Sanwo-Olu explained, “Indeed, we know that drug abuse is prevalent in our society in all forms and shapes. For us as a government, it is not something we are sweeping under the carpet. We are not denying that it is there.
“Part of the things we are doing to tackle it is to ensure that we have functional and working rehabilitation centres, and we are equipping them to identify real caregivers that will take victims through rehabilitation processes.
“Beyond that, we are actually building a fully-fledged mental health rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejinrin in Lagos East Senatorial District. This, we believe, will not only have almost 500 beds but will also have the required expertise, medical and all of the complements, to ensure that different categories of treatments required are available.”