Drug Free Arewa Movement, DFAM, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, on Friday called for the ban of drug hawkers to salvage the northern region from drug abuse.
Gambo Wakili, a Member of the Legal Committee of DFAM, made the call while reading the communiqué issued at the end of DFAM’s first Anti-drug Abuse Youth Leadership Summit in Abuja.
Ms Wakili said that the call had become imperative in order to clear the northern region off quack drug sellers and administers that sell to ignorant people who misuse them.
She said the group wanted the 19 northern states governors, elders, traditional rulers, legislators, and other stakeholders to participate in the total emancipation drive to drastically reduce drug abuse and trafficking to ensure generational sustenance.
According to her, the call followed a national survey on Drug Use and Health in Nigeria conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which showed the rate of drug abuse in the north.
“The summit identified that there is inadequate information on drugs and substances of abuse targeting youths, thus the need to increase knowledge and awareness on harmful effects of drugs.
“There is the need to tackle stigmatisation of drug addicts, lack of adequate and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation services and lack of man power and poor funding of the Nigeria 1Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
“Delay trials of drug related crimes, lack of good parental relationship and the need for measures to enhance behavioural change for abusers with adequate knowledge on harmful effects of drug abuse are also some of the challenges.
“We are aware of drug abuse dangers and its negative effects on the northern region’s economic, social, global and cultural value and its threat to security, so we commit ourselves in taking ownership to stop it.’’
Ms Wakili said that the group recommended continuous survey on the state of drug abuse in the northern region, mapping of hot spots and the formation of action committees on drug abuse.
She stressed the need for NDLEA to adopt an intervention line for long term empowerment of youths to counter drug abuse and collaborate with key actors in the fight against it.
Ms Wakili urged the National Orientation Agency, NOA, to take full responsibility of massive anti-drug abuse campaign through partnership with the media, NGOs and cooperate organisations.
The group also called on the 19 northern governors to adopt a common objective of curbing the production and traffic in narcotic drugs and adhere to the principle of cooperation to control dissemination of illicit drugs.
She called for enforcement of strict laws on dealers and smugglers of illicit drugs and regular raids on people who hawk prescription drugs to non-eligible buyers and establish state bureau for substance abuse.
Ms Wakili urged the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, 3, 5 that talked about drug abuse as well as adopt the UN Declaration on the Guiding Principle of Drug Demand and Reduction.
She said that there was the need to provide rehabilitation centres and device a well-planned reintegration technique for repentant and rehabilitated addicts among others.
The group also called for the incorporation of the communiqué into regional and national plans and commit to fulfilling it to make the north and Nigeria a better place.
Also speaking, Ibrahim Yusuf, a member of DFAM, said that the group would present the communiqué to be used as a policy document by the Federal and state Governments to curb the challenge of illicit drugs.
Mr Yusuf said that this was imperative as the north was backward in so many areas, adding that curbing drug abuse in the region would help in improving the socio-economic development of the region and make youths productive.
He commended the Kaduna state government, and other stakeholders for supporting the summit.