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Step up fight against drug abuse with tougher punishment, Obi urges FG

A former presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has urged the Federal Government to step up its fight against drug abuse by introducing severe punishment for drug traffickers.

Obi disclosed this in a statement on on Wednesday while commemorating the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

In his statement, Obi blamed economic hardship and unemployment for fueling drug addiction, particularly among young people.

His statement partly read, “For a predominantly youthful population, Nigeria, where poverty and unemployment are on the increase, the incidence of drug abuse remains high.

Economic hardship and other poor socio-economic factors have been identified as the leading factors fueling drug abuse among our youth.”

Citing reports by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, he stated that without urgent action, Nigeria could witness an increase in drug users.

He added, “A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that Nigeria and some African countries will witness a 40 per cent rise in the population of drug users, especially the youth population if urgent measures are not taken.”

“The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reports that about 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years, abuse drugs.

“The National Bureau of Statistics reports a 14.4 per cent drug prevalence in Nigeria, which is twice the global average of 5.8 per cent.”

Cultism, drug abuse major security threats – Lagos CPThe former Anambra governor therefore urged the government to invest in the rehabilitation of those struggling with drug addiction and introduce stricter punishment for drug traffickers.

He added, “The government should invest in rehabilitating those already caught in the web of drug abuse and stringent punishment meted out to drug traffickers.

“Drugs and substance abuse have contributed to high rates of crime, moral decadence in society, and other associated health hazards. It also greatly dampens the productivity of people, especially the youth population.

“We must, therefore, seek to save our nation from the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking. More efforts must be channelled into preventing the spread of this virus.”

It was reported on Tuesday that the NDLEA stated that the menace of drug abuse in the country is a ticking bomb that all stakeholders must rise to fight elaborately.

The agency went further to state that the practice of abuse of drugs and addiction is not only peculiar among the street and common people but also a challenge recording high indulgence among the very important persons (VIPs) in the country.

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