Following the Senate’s resolution in October on the state of drug and substance abuse around the nation, the Upper Chamber has moved to address the widespread use of drugs and other illegal substances through a stakeholder roundtable with state governments, local governments, traditional rulers, the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria and NGOs.
The objective of the Roundtable which will hold in Kano on Monday and Tuesday is to bring together relevant stakeholders to discuss the drivers of drug abuse in Nigeria, identify the psycho-social and medical impact of the phenomenon, and assess current responses, legislative gaps and opportunities for action.
The expected outcomes of the Roundtable include: gaining a better understanding of drug use, prevalence, trends and patterns in Nigeria; understanding the current government and Civil Society capacity and efforts towards addressing drug abuse and related issues; gain insight into legislative, policy gaps and develop an Action Plan for interventions by the National Assembly and other stakeholders.
Recall that earlier this year, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, expressed his concern about the widespread abuse of drugs by youths in the country.
In a series of tweets on his Twitter account (@bukolasaraki) on Friday, September 29, the Senate President posted, “I am particularly worried about the drug menace in the country. It is time that we recognize this problem and addresses it in a sensible manner.
“I will be pushing for the National Assembly to review all relevant laws on drug abuse. This will help to curb the widespread misuse of illegal and unsanitary substances. The Senate will engage with all relevant stakeholders as we initiate this process,” the President of the Senate said.
Until recently, the Government of Nigeria (GoN) has pursued a law enforcement approach in response to the challenge of drug trafficking, production and use.
Nigeria has ratified all United Nation’s drug and crime conventions and is supporting and participating in all major international and regional anti-drug initiatives, strategies and programmes.
The country has also enacted comprehensive anti-drug legislation and established several specialized national agencies to enhance the effectiveness and coordination of drug control policies.
The Roundtable will allow the Senate to effectively analyze Nigeria’s response to the menace and come up with appropriate strategies on the way forward.
Meanwhile, the Senate President has expressed sadness over the death of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Gidado Idris, who passed away on Friday night.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said with the death of Alhaji Gidado Idris, Nigeria has lost an Elder Statesman and a bridge builder.
Saraki said, “Nigeria has lost a highly principled bridge builder who cultivated a high degree of friendship from the lowest to the highest across the country.
“His life and service embodied the best and the most challenging chapters of our nation’s historical development, where he served with total dedication and distinction.
“He will be sorely missed as a humble, yet passionate patriot, particularly at a time when his breed are thin on the ground.”
While commiserating with the immediate family, Zaria Emirate Council, people and government of Kaduna State, Saraki prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and asked Almighty Allah (SWA) to grant him Ajannah Firdaus.
Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, to the President of the Senate