The federal and state governments have been asked to declare state of emergency on substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria with a view to mobilising resources to tackle the pandemic.
The Nigeria Governors Spouses Forum, NGSF, made the call on Tuesday in a communique signed by Chairperson of the Forum and First Lady of Kwara State, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrasaq.
The development followed the end of a two-day Drug Prevention Treatment and Care, DPTC, training organized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for wives of state governors in Abuja.
A statement issued on Tuesday by Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, said the governors wives acknowledged the urgent need to take control and reinvigorate the State Drug Control Committees (SDCC) for optimal functioning of the states.
They stressed the need for the Federal Government and state governors to declare state of emergency on illicit drug use and trafficking pandemic with a view to mobilising resources to tackle the challenge.
According to Babafemi, “Other resolutions in the communique include the need to foster good parenting through parents teachers associations, community outreach programmes and to support the NDLEA Drug Integrity Testing Policy for early detection of drug users and timely intervention to prevent the progression to addiction/dependency.”
The first ladies also agreed to work as a body and facilitator towards strengthening collaboration and cooperation between State governments, NDLEA and other security agencies in the fight against drug use and trafficking.
They equally agreed to support the building of at least three standard drug rehabilitation centres, one in each senatorial zone of the State to cater for drug users within the states and reduce the challenges of costs, access and stigma to drug treatment.
In the same vein, they likewise agreed to use their offices to liaise with the State Governors to facilitate the establishment, where no one exists, and strengthening, where it exists, of States Drug Control Committees (SDC) and appoint first ladies of states as chairs of the committees with NDLEA State Commander as the Secretary, for effective action against drug use prevalence, treatment and care.
They also adopted the Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) programmes in states as Forum project, to be chaired by the first ladies of the states, to help curb the menace of drug use and fostering greater access to treatment for women who use drugs by reducing to the barest minimum stigmatisation and cultural push back.
They equally adopted projects and policies that foster cooperation with private sector and civil society organisations in the development of standardised treatment centres across the States of the Federation.