Aisha Buhari pledges support for efforts to end drug addiction in Nigeria

Aisha Buhari pledges support for efforts to end drug addiction in Nigeria

By Ahmed Ubandoma, Abuja.

 

The First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Thursday expressed determination to strengthen advocacy towards ending the menace of drug trafficking and addiction among young women and youths in Nigeria.

 

Buhari said this at the 2022 Conference on Drug Awareness, organised by the Initiative against Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nigeria (IAASAN), in collaboration with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abuja.

 

In a statement made available to newsmen by her Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs and Strategy, Mr Sani Zorro, Buhari also urged stakeholders to join forces towards addressing the challenges associated with drug abuse in the country.

 

“It is only by working together that we could avoid the tragedy and helplessness of nations severely impacted by the drug trade and associated crimes,” she said.

 

The first lady, therefore, emphasized the need for traditional and religious organisations to join the fight to help tackle the menace of drug trafficking and addiction in Nigeria.

 

“Imagine if our mosques and churches, priests and clergies had vigorously lent their voices and asserted their influence towards cleansing the society of the menace of drug addiction and substance abuse!

 

“Imagine how germane and more relevant they could have been if our political parties were to prioritize societal challenges such as the fight against illicit drugs.

 

“Not only shall we give hope to communities challenged by this syndrome, we would have shown clear readiness to launch into a fundamental reform of our value system,” she said.

 

Buhari also told the gathering that women had a vital role to play towards moulding the characters of their children for better upbringing.

 

“In this campaign, women can, therefore, serve as educators and motivators of right attitudes that their children would emulate,” she said.

 

The first lady expressed worry over the rate of illicit drug users in the country, saying: “Sadly, one, out of every four drug users, is a woman.

 

“The 2021 joint survey of the National Bureau of Statistics and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), supported by the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) was disturbing.

 

“Nigeria had 14.3 million out of its productive population engaged in drug abuse and the figure is projected to rise by 40 per cent, by the year 2030.

 

“This is approximately 20 million of our 200 million+ population, unless there is deliberate, massive and collaborative intervention to stem the tide,” she said.

 

Buhari, therefore, underscored the need for stakeholders to make deliberate efforts to tackle the menace.

 

“Because drugs induce generalized violence in local and urban communities, they are helping to fuel the violent conflicts in several parts of our country today.

 

“We should, therefore, be worried at the rate of the dare-devilry, with which the conspiracy to render our country into a drug hub, is being crystallized,” she said.

 

She, therefore, appreciated the organisers for their thoughtfulness and sense of empathy for the occurrence.

 

According to her, the conference will bring to the public domain the urgent need to focus on the rehabilitation.

 

The president’s wife expressed readiness to support any activity that was geared towards tackling the menace.

 

The event was aimed at strengthening public awareness and drawing the people’s attention to the dangers of drug abuse to the health and its consequences on the wellbeing of Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation.

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