Lawmakers pledge to strengthen fight against drug-related crimes

NDLEA officials

The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Narcotics and Drugs have pledged to raise the profile of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA) in its effort to combat drug related offences.

The resolution is to strengthen a balanced approach to drug responses in the country in line with priority areas set out in the National Drug Control Masterplan (NDCMP) made to last between 2015 and 2019 in Nigeria.

The chairman, Senate committee on Drugs and Narcotic, Senator Joshua Lidani, disclosed this at a media briefing on ‘Balanced, Evidence based and Human Rights based Drug Control’ seminar held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital last Thursday.

The event was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the European Union (EU) to support Nigeria’s effort to tackle drug related challenges using a multi-facet approach.

The key areas the profile would cover include, drug law enforcement, drug demand reduction and availability and control of Narcotic and psychotropic substances. According to Lidani, the committees would strengthen the NDLEA as a professional institution through capacity building by ensuring that it receives its funds as a first line charge. He added that the Agency would be encouraged to increase their advocacy through print media, social media, electronic and a functional website.

He said: “Among others the committee would create awareness and education on drug issues to communities, families, professionals, government and IDPs; ensure professional training that is continuous at treatment centres for drug counselors, social workers, doctors, nurses and other professional staff.”He added that regular and adequate supply of appropriate and recommended opioid medicines would be available in the country.

“The committees will continue to engage with various ministries and technical agencies of the government, discuss with Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Health, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the European Union as well as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to take forward Nigeria’s response on drug control,” Ligali, who was joined in the briefing by his House of Representative counterpart, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo and a representative of the federal ministry of budget and national planning said.

The event was a fallout of a three day briefing on the UN Drug Conventions, the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016 about the international evidence based best practice on a balanced approach to drug control organized for members of the senate and house of representative committee on Narcotics and Drugs, ministry of budget and national planning, EU, UNODC as well as Nigerian and international experts on drug issues.

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