July 20, 2024

NDLEA, UNODC unveil activities for 2023 World Drug Day, accomplishments in recent times

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have presented their activities for the 2023 World Drug Day, along with the accomplishments they have achieved in recent times.

Brig. Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa, the chairman and chief executive officer of the NDLEA, unveiled the agency’s achievements over the past 29 months.

He highlighted the significant progress made in combating substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. During this period, a total of 31,675 drug offenders were apprehended, with 5,147 of them prosecuted and convicted.

“Over 6.3 million kilograms of assorted drugs were seized,” he revealed.

Speaking at a joint press briefing in Abuja on June 19th, Marwa and Mr. Oliver Stolpe, the Country Representative of UNODC, launched a week-long series of events to mark the 2023 World Drug Day.

This annual event aims to mobilize resources, align policies, and inspire organizations, communities, and nations to effectively address the challenges posed by illicit substances in society.

Marwa emphasized that this year’s theme, “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention,” aligns with Nigeria’s current situation. He highlighted the agency’s efforts to curtail drug supply through law enforcement, including the arrest of drug offenders, prosecution of cases, and the closure of distribution channels. Additionally, he mentioned the successful counseling and rehabilitation of 23,725 drug users, as well as the destruction of cannabis farms and dismantling of methamphetamine laboratories.

Marwa stressed the importance of striking a balance between drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction, which encompasses prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

“The NDLEA has made significant investments in these areas, including the acquisition of rehabilitation centers, the construction of regional model rehabs, and the establishment of a toll-free, round-the-clock call center for teletherapy. The agency has also conducted extensive sensitization lectures, campaigns, and media broadcasts to educate the public about drugs and prevent substance abuse,” he said.

Marwa called on society to eliminate the stigmatization that discourages drug users from seeking treatment, as it hinders recovery and reintegration efforts. He highlighted the need to break down social barriers that impede the attainment of a drug-free society.

He expressed gratitude for the partnership between the NDLEA, NGOs, development partners, and various groups and institutions, including media professionals, who have supported the renewed fight against drugs. Marwa extended his appreciation to the UNODC, the European Union (EU), and the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, France, India, and Germany for their contributions to enhancing the agency’s capacity.

To commemorate World Drug Day, a series of activities have been planned for the week, including educational events such as essay and quiz competitions. Stakeholders, including the UNODC and MTN Foundation, will collaborate on initiatives like the Walk Against Drugs, NGO activities, and awareness campaigns targeting out.

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