The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has lamented the growing incidence of drug abuse in the territory.
To stem the upsurge, the minister has moved to rally FCT security agencies to combat the scourge.
The FCT Minister gave this indication during a meeting with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), when the latter paid him a working visit recently.
Malam Bello expressed alarm at the dimension to which the menace of drug has grown especially among women, while aligning himself with the declaration of the drug law enforcement boss who had associated the problems of insurgency, robbery, kidnapping and other crimes to drug abuse.
He said: “We really intend to make Abuja drug free. That will take tremendous amount of hard work and tremendous amount of commitment and resources. But we have no option but to do it.”
The Minister acknowledged that it was bad enough that Nigeria used be known only as a transit point and expressed dismay it was becoming a consuming nation.
He charged the FCT Police, Department of State Security, Social Development Secretariat, and NDLEA, who were present at the occasion, to come together to chart a new plan of action towards fighting the scourge in FCT.
The Minister assured the agencies that FCT was going to support measures designed to recover affected neighbourhoods and persons from drugs. In addition, he announced measures to fast-track the allocation of land for the construction of a rehabilitation centre for drug victims in the FCT.
He canvassed for the naming and shaming of traffickers and perpetrators, as one of the strategies for discouraging the resort to drugs, suggesting, “All arrested persons need to be publicised along with their pictures and businesses.
If they are found to be part of the negative value chain of the drug thing, they have to be exposed very widely. It is absolutely important.
This is something relevant agencies will work together at in order to recover this vulnerable segment of our population from this menace.”
Earlier in his briefing to the FCT minister, the NDLEA boss expressed concern that between 100 and 120 million of our population is composed of the youths.
His words: “They are the main ones that indulge in this consumption and any nation whose future is sentenced to the use of drugs by its young ones, that nation is trouble.”
He noted that behind the consumption drugs, is the issue of criminalities, adding “we know there are other problems in Nigeria, problems of insurgency, robbery, kidnapping. But behind all of these drugs are being consumed.
While it is true that we are trying to stop these ones immediately, until we can stop drugs coming into our country, stop our children and any other person from taking it in our country, we are only wasting our time.”
The Col. Abdallah therefore called all stakeholders to collaborate with the agency in the war against drug.
By Idu Jude