Over 15 million Nigerians are now hooked on drugs, 90 per cent of all criminalities in Nigeria today, ranging from banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, rape, and others are linked to the use of illicit drugs. One in seven Nigerians take drugs, over 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis, followed by opioid with 4.6 million and tramadol, making these drugs the most used by Nigerians.
These gory statistics about drug abuse and trafficking and their attendant consequences on our national life are indeed scary. Coming from the horse’s mouth – Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerians particularly those at the helm of affairs must wake up to the reality of a national menace.
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Drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria by Nigerians both home and abroad is assuming an alarming dimension with announcement of daily seizures of large quantities of illicit drugs by the NDLEA.
The implication of this is that if stringent measures are not taken by all stakeholders, in the next foreseeable future, the country will be saddled with leaders who are drug addicts.
In view of the foregoing, all hands must be on deck to salvage the situation otherwise our future is doomed. It is thus imperative to introduce compulsory drugs test on Nigerians to prevent potential leaders from falling victims of drugs abuse. To this end, appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks must be vigorously pursued at the three tiers and levels of government.
For instance, the law should make it mandatory for intending couples to undergo compulsory drug test before marriage just like it’s done with HIV, genotype and hepatitis.
In the same vein, admissions into tertiary institutions, military and other security agencies must be predicated on compulsory drugs test. When this is done, the high prevalence of cultism and exam malpractice in higher institutions of learning would be reduced to the barest minimum. Drug test must also be a prerequisite for mobilization of youths for the mandatory National Youth Service.
Nigerians desirous of having a career in the public service or academia, must also be subjected to the test so that academic excellence will prevail in our ivory towers and integrity and discipline restored in the public service.
All candidates seeking elective positions in both the executive and the legislative arms must be subjected to drugs test in addition to security screening. Similarly, appointment of members of the judiciary must also follow the same suit. Election of executives of labour unions and professional bodies should also not be insulated from similar checks. The same treatment should be extended to membership of all professional bodies alike.
It is instructive to note that the strict administration of the mandatory drugs test on all categories of citizens highlighted above would serve as a great deterrent to would-be abusers and Nigeria would be rid of the menace of drug abuse and trafficking.
Ibrahim Mohammed lives in Abuja