UNODC calls for collective approach to illicit drug use

Adoba Echono, Abuja

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The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has called for the collective efforts of governments at all levels to combat the rising use of illicit drugs among Nigerians.

The Country Representative, UNODC Nigeria Mr.Oliver Stolpe, made this known in Abuja during the National Implementation Workshop of all International Drug Policy Commitments.

The workshop was a follow-up to the 2019 Ministerial Declaration of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, CND, held in Vienna, in March.

The CND resolved on commitments to strengthening actions at the international, regional and national levels to address world drug problems.

According to Mr. Stolpes, while progress has been achieved over the past decade in addressing the world drug problem, there was an urgent need for member states to renew their individual and collective commitments.

He said that for Nigeria, the workshop was apt, especially at the time when the drug epidemic has reached unprecedented dimensions and is receiving high level attention both at home and abroad.

“This workshop is an important step in translating these commitments into tangible results,” according to Mr. Stoples.

 “It is important that all stakeholders’ state and non-state actors, international partners and donor agencies work collaboratively in addressing these issues. Inclusiveness and comprehensiveness are the principles of how the Commission on Narcotic Drugs conducts its work; these principles must also guide our collective work in Nigeria.” As we are charting the way forward, the policy guidance from Vienna comes at the right moment, no country can address the complex issue of drugs alone,” Stolpes said.

Mr. Stolpes said that key messages emerging from the discussion at the CND urges nations to work together in reaffirming the cornerstone principles of the global drug control system, policies to protect young people and healthy life-styles.

In a message, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, said that Nigeria, like other member states have resolved to implement all commitments and goals made since 2009 to address the world drug problems.

Mr. Onyeama who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Mustapha Sulaiman said the commitment was very timely in view of the increasing rates of drug abuse and drug related challenges confronting the global community.

“This workshop provides the opportunity to improve the capacities of professionals engaged in the daily administration of our drug use policies”, Mr. Onyeama explained.

The Chief Executive Office of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Retired Colonel Muhammad Abdallah, said that the world drug problems requires a more strategic and robust approach.

Colonel Abdallah said that ever since the 2009 Political Declaration in 2009, the drug problems in Nigeria and other parts of the world rather than abate has escalated in length and bounds.

 “In other to address the drug problems in Nigeria, the country has put in place a Comprehensive National Action Plan on Drug control known as the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP).” The master plan contains four pillars to effectively address the drug problem in the country,’’ Abdallah said.

Colonel Abdallah emphasized that the cultivation of cannabis remains a heinous offence under Nigerian law and the NDLEA will continue to exert its efforts to take all illicit cannabis off the streets of the country.

Bilkisu Pai