Nigeria: Govt Seeks Global Action Against Drug Trafficking, Terrorism

13 April 2021

The federal government has called for a well-coordinated international cooperation to tackle the links between drug trafficking and all forms of organised crime like terrorism.

Spokesman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Femi Babafemi, said in a statement yesterday that this was one of Nigeria's demands at the ongoing 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), holding in Vienna, Austria, presented before the global audience also yesterday by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd).

"Nigeria calls for robust international cooperation to address the links between drug trafficking and terrorism, illicit financial flows, smuggling of migrants and other forms of organised crime," Marwa stated, while adding that "we underscore the importance of technical assistance by UNODC, which has greatly assisted practitioners of beneficiary countries and positively impacted global efforts to counter and address the world drug problem, and urge for their continuation."

While explaining that Nigeria has continued to adopt her drug control policies and strategies to respond to emerging and evolving realities, the NDLEA boss said "despite the implementation of our framework and strategic action plan, trafficking and abuse of controlled substances persist. First, the cultivation and high traffic of Cannabis and its abuse has been on the increase."

According to him, "our National Drug Use Survey, 2019 revealed that over 10 million persons abused cannabis in one year. In similar pattern, the 2019 and 2020 World Drug Reports identified cannabis as the most abused substance with its threat to security, health and wellbeing of the global population. Second, the trafficking and non-medical use of synthetic and pharmaceuticals opioids, especially Tramadol, remains a challenge.

"This is in spite of our domestic control efforts as well as two tripartite meetings, facilitated by UNODC, involving Nigeria, Ghana and India held in New Delhi and Lagos in 2019, to address the Tramadol crisis. Nigeria, therefore, reiterates that legalisation of the illicit use of cannabis is a violation of the Drug Control Treaties while highlighting the urgent need for change in the control measures for Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals."

Marwa added that Nigeria has decentralised the storage of finished narcotic drugs to ensure their access, availability and affordability for medical and scientific use. He said as a result, "we are now able to optimize data collection and improve statutory submission of annual requirement to the INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) with the launch, in 2020, of our national quantification/estimation survey, conducted in 2017 and 2019 respectively. We are also on course to start local manufacturing of narcotic medicines from two WHO-prequalified pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure availability and meet national needs."

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