The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) Gen. Buba Marwa, rtd, on Thursday advised Nigerians, particularly the youth to desist from taking illicit drugs.
He, gave the advice at the 2023 Press Week Lecture/Symposium, organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos Chapel.
Marwa. who was the guest of honour, stressed that drug abuse had become rampant among the youth and a big problem in the society.
“Substance abuse is common among youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years, and cuts across those who dwell in both the urban and rural areas,” he said.
According to him, drug is a substance taken other than food and water. Whenever it is taken, it changes the functions of the body.
“Drugs can be licit or illicit, licit drugs are not prohibited by law, they are drugs taking when sick.
“But Illicit drugs are the ones that are unlawful and prohibited by law which everyone must abstain from,” Marwa said.
According to him, some youths engage in drug abuse as a result of curiosity, low self-esteem, ignorance, imaginary pressure, relieve of anxiety and other reasons.
Marwa , who was represented by the NDLEA Deputy Director, Mrs Rita Okpere, said that drug abuse also caused damage to organs of the body.
“Drug abuse is not beneficial in any way, but rather causes severe damage to the body system,” he stressed.
The NDLEA boss added that substance abuse had physical, psychological and social consequences not only on the user, but also on the family and society.
He said that all hands must be on deck to rid the society of the menace and its consequences.
“This is the time for all to rise up and join the crusade the NDLEA is leading to make our country a better and safer nation, the NDLEA cannot solve the problem alone.
“Community leaders, religious bodies, royal fathers, NGOs and every member of the society must all collaborate and show concern for the welfare of our youths, who are the leaders of tomorrow.
“The Federal Government has done a lot on this issue of drug abuse, they should do more,” he said.
The Chairman said that drug abusers were prone to engaging in cultism, thuggery, armed robbery and other crimes.
“Addiction to drugs can push one to engage in vices, so as to get money to buy drugs,” he said.
Marwa urged parents to pay more attention to their children and wards.
“Parents must be observant, ask questions when you see something strange with your children, conduct secret investigation and do follow up,” he said.
He, however, made a clarification that the agency did not appoint Afrobeat musician, Afeez Fashola, better known as “Naira Marley”as its ambassador.
“The agency only engaged him and encouraged him to use his skills and platforms to put out content that will discourage millions of his followers and youths from substance abuse,” he said.
He appealed to Nigerian youths to avoid bad friends and drugs, if they want to be great in life.
“Stay away from bad friends, do not allow any friend to lure you into taking drugs, be God-fearing, have your own personality for the sake of Nigeria,” he said.