…ensuring secured and drug free country.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja underscored the crucial role of traditional rulers in the country in mitigating rising incidence of drug abuse and insecurity in the country.
Also Wednesday, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd) urged royal fathers to step up their advocacy in the task of ensuring secured and drug free country.
Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, spoke at the 11th General Assembly FCT-Abuja 2019, of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), with the theme: “Imperatives of Community policing, menace of drug Abuse: The role of traditional rulers.”
He noted that the present administration in 2018 set up a Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse and Trafficking headed by Rtd Brigadier Buba Marwa, in its efforts to eradicate the menace in the country.
The committee he added came up with far reaching recommendations that will soon be implemented by government in stemming the ugly tide.
He said that the one of the fundamental suggestions is required intervention of traditional authority in combating the menace.
“Buhari said: “Traditional Rulers have crucial role to play in the ongoing war against drug abuse and trafficking being the closest institutions to the people
“With traditional rulers on the same page with government in the war against the menace through community policing, it is our firm belief that the rate of the menace will drastically drop in years to come with attendant multiplier effects on the rate of crimes generally on the downward trend,” he said.
On his part, Governor Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Special Adviser on Traditional Institutions, Bayo Osiyemi, urged royal fathers to consider the challenges pose to the nation’s future by rising incidence of drug abuse and insecurity and continue to support the efforts of government in curbing the threats.
Sanwo-Olu said: “The role of community policing in contemporary times has assumed tremendous importance that requires necessary attention and action.
“It is a fact that the face does not reflect the criminal intent in the mind of man; however, it is only the indigenes and residents in a community that will easily identify potential threats to communal peace and pass the information to the nearest security agency.
“In Lagos State, ‘See Something, say something’ is the password that has helped us achieve results in providing adequate security to the lives and properties of residents and investors for the benefit of all.”
He added: “Also, we cannot close our eyes to the damage done to our collective future with the corrosive drug abuse culture that is consuming our youths.
“We have a collective responsibility, not limited to the traditional rulers, to tackle the menace of ‘peddlers of death and destruction’ who distribute and sell illicit or exotic drugs to our children at high conurbation areas such as recreational facilities and on the streets.
“It is also disheartening to note that these immoral activities have been taken into the public schools and tertiary institutions disguised as sweets and confectionaries that easily deceive our innocent children until they become addicted to drug usage and abuse.”
In his keynote address, Marwa said going by available statistics and realities on ground, the menace of drug abuse represents one of the worst problems confronting the country today.
Marwa said: “Nigeria which was just a transit nation as at 2013, is now a full blown consumer nation.
“The National Survey on Drug Abuse released in November 2018 by United Nations Organisation for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in collaboration with the European Union (EU), Federal Ministry of Health and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of Nigeria was damaging.
“By this report, the annual prevalence of drug use for the period covered was 5.6 per cent against the prevalence of 14.4 per cent in Nigeria. 14.3million Nigerians between the ages of 15 – 64 are on drugs.”
According to Marwa, “perhaps the single most influential institution in Nigeria is the traditional institution.
“Traditional Rulers are permanent. They don’t come and go like politicians and governments. They have a unique staying power, have long reaches and are listened to.”
The Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, in his remarks, called on government to help preserve the traditional institution in the country.
Oba Ogunwusi, who is a Co-chair of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), urged the government to avoid acts that would adversely affect the traditional institutions in the country.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, Co-chair of the NCTRN and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and traditional rulers from across the country attended the event.