One of the non-combatants approaches to solving insecurity in Nigeria is drug law enforcement. According to the world drug report 2022, illicit drug economy flourishes where there are conflicts and checking the drug trade has the capacity to reduce violence. In effect, a higher usage of drug by criminals and availability of funds from illicit drug trade will expose the nation to more security challenges.
When unaudited funds are available to non-state actors fueling insecurity in a place, it means the war against insecurity is far from over. To secure Nigeria, there is need to use system approach in the war against banditry and terrorism across the country.
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Travelling through the pages of newspapers, the news of drug and substance abuse graces the pages of our national dailies at the wake of everyday. Death caused by the victims of drug abuse is alarming and the rate at which the youths who are supposed to rescue the nation and reposition her governance find solace in codeine and related diets is traumatic.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use released by the European Union, not less than 14.3 million Nigerians between ages 15-64 have used drugs outside of medical need. It revealed that one in eight persons in the country has suffered consequences of another person’s drug use. This level of hypnotic drug use leads to manslaughter, burglary, rape, and communal violence amongst other ones.
In a data released in 2004, 925 people received treatment for drug addiction out of the population of 149 million According to NDLEA. The figure has risen to 155,000 people needing medical attention due to illicit drugs use and approximately three million Nigerians who are suffering from drug use disorder.
The Nigerian National Drug Use Survey revealed that at least, 14.3 million Nigerians are into drugs, this population is more than the population of Israel and Singapore combined. Nigeria must step up its fight against proliferation of illicit drugs across the country.
Nigerians are, at this point in time, expected to be more productive than ever. We need to enthrone a transformative leadership that will push the nation back to its rightful position. We must also leverage our 34 million hectares of arable land and bulging population to till the land and increase local food production. About 70 per cent of our population consists of able-bodied youths. In addition to putting this population into productive use, we must save this stratum of our population from criminal recruitment. We must look deep into the nexus between national insecurity and illicit drug use. Doing so will help reduce the number of youths being recruited by non-state actors to commit crime and when this is reduced, farmlands that have once been occupied by bandits, kidnappers and terrorists, can be used for their agrological purposes.
Achieving national food security is key to sustainable development.
Hammed O. Jimoh, is a lecturer at the School of Vocational and Technical Education, Federal College of Education, Katsina