The Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) has lamented the increasing rate of drug abuse in Nigeria, saying kidnappers now demand ransom in money and drugs such as tramadol among others from victims' relatives.
Brigadier-General Buba Mohammed Marwa (Rtd), chairman of the committee, said this during an advocacy visit to the Lagos State Ministry of Health. According to him, kidnappers count the drugs before the money. Drug abuse according to Marwa, is worse than Boko Haram insurgency; noting that behind all the crises faced in Nigeria, including kidnapping, robbery and killings, is drug abuse.
"We must come together to solve this problem because we believe it is not beyond redemption.
"Our job as PACEDA is to find solutions that are sustainability and implementable and we plan to complete our assignment by May 29, as we have met with agencies and other relevant stakeholders," he said, noting that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) needs a complete overhaul.
The agency, he said needs urgent help and overhaul "not because there is anything wrong with its personnel or leadership but because it's in a dire state with no personnel, no logistics, no vehicle, no money, no weapon in sufficient quantum and poor morale of staff among others".
While the committee stressed the need for more rehabilitation centres in the country, it suggested that the campaign against drug abuse be taken to primary schools and communities so as to catch them young.
Earlier, in her goodwill message, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, lamented that younger people are increasingly getting involved in drugs. She charged parents to be more vigilant and know what is happening to their wards at every point in time; stressing that a lot of atrocities are committed under the influence of drugs.
She stated that 50percent of accidents on the roads are caused by drugs and called for whistle blowing on drug abuse so as to reduce to the barest minimum, the menace.
Responding, the Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris lamented that government's investments in the health and education sectors are very poor.
"If we don't address investment in those two social areas, we are wasting our time. No government is funding the health sector adequately in this country. We all signed an agreement with World Health Organization (WHO), but only very few are funding health more than 5percent of the expenditure," he said.