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15m drug addicts keg of gunpowder for Nigeria’s economy, society—Expert

More reactions have continued to trail recent revelation by the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, Brigadier Gen. Mohammed Marwa (rtd) who has put the nation’s figure of drug addicts at about 15 million.
The former Military Administrator of Lagos State, who was in Katsina State to meet with critical stakeholders, described the situation as alarming and an emergency situation, which needs to be urgently checkmated.
Reviewing the data released by Marwa, industrialist and managing Director of Ringo Group, Chief Reuben Itodo said “The way and manner the intelligence quotient of even the working class Nigerians has reduced make people like me to even thing that that 15 million may be too small compared to what we are seeing daily.
“In the first instance, people take to drug abuse when hope of survival and good life is dashed. Recall that it was under this administration or in the last three years that we began to hear about Tramadol and all kinds of addictives in Nigeria. That shows the level of collapse of societal decency and human hood.
“Drugs and gambling go together. In every street in major cities, if you look very well, you will observe that betting and gaming kiosks are on the rise and their main targets are youths who have lost hope in doing anything better to grow their destiny. They take to betting because there are no jobs and those that are even working are underpaid.
According to Chief Itodo, “I have fears of where our Nigeria will be in the next 20 years with the current rate of drug addiction and gambling which are no jobs but very attractive to jobless people”.
“For me, like some African countries have recently done, we the Federal Government need to ban sports betting if Nigerian youths are to be salvaged going forward.
However, explaining more at Katsina during the visit, Marwa revealed that “the global average rating of drug use and abuse is at five per cent, but in Nigeria, we are at 15 per cent.
“We have an emergency situation before us regarding the issue of drugs abuse in Nigeria.
“These prompted the Federal Government to raise the committee to proffer recommendations and steps to be taken to resolve the issue of drug abuse in the country.
“We started our work since December and finished the plenary and now we are visiting states across the country.”
Responding, Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari said “On the whole, we are facing the supply side of the drugs, in terms of cutting the supply. “Government agencies involved need to be strengthened to be able to carry out their functions effectively and the demand side appears to be more difficult to handle.
“We also need to take preventive measures to ensure that those who do not take the drugs remain so. We have to interface with esteemed leaders across the country. We feel there ought to be committees on drugs abuse right from the federal to the local governments and across the communities.
“We do know that the causes of drug abuse include but not limited to poverty, joblessness and idleness which translate to looking for jobs. Rehabilitation and counselling centres are few.
“We will interface with religious organisations and traditional leaders and also examine the Almajirai situation and embellish it with Western education.
Governor Masari revealed that “The Almajirai, in the course of their training, do other things that are not good for them.”