Illicit drugs responsible for insecurity in W\A – INCB Report 2015
The 2015 report of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) has attributed rising cases of insecurity to illicit drug use in the region.
It also identified Africa as a key transit point for drug trafficking to Europe and other parts of the world. According to the report which was launched in Abuja, West Africa remains a primary source of drugs entering Europe while East Africa is increasingly being used as a trafficking hub for Afghan heroin destined for Europe. The focus of the 2015 report is on health and welfare of mankind.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) country representative, Ms. Cristine Albertin who officially presented the report noted that cannabis use remains high in Africa while increasing drug use is creating security challenges. In her words, “annual prevalence of cannabis use in the region remains high as 7.5 percent of the population aged 15-64 almost double the global annual average of 3.9 percent. The figure is particularly high in West and Central Africa with 12.4 percent. Cannabis remains the primary drug for which people in Africa receive treatment for substance abuse. Rise in illicit drug use is creating security challenges in addition to having negative health and social impact”. The report also stated that only one out of 18 people suffering from drug abuse disorders or drug abuse dependence receive treatment each year.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah in his key note address stated that though there are low level of commercial and pharmacological regulation and lack of trade monitoring for precursor chemicals in African countries; efforts are ongoing to bring culprits to book. “Some cases of diversion of imported precursor chemicals have been detected by NDLEA and the culprits have been arrested. The NDLEA has discovered and dismantled ten (10) clandestine drug laboratories for the production of methamphetamine in Nigeria particularly Lagos and Anambra States between 2011 and 2015. High level investigations are on-going to detect more of such laboratories and the perpetrators arrested. In addition, we shall go after their criminal wealth and ensure forfeiture of same” Abdallah stated.
He pledged the commitment of the NDLEA towards an effective collaboration with UNODC, NAFDAC and other relevant stakeholders to ensure availability and accessibility of internationally controlled drugs within the limits of the provisions of the relevant laws. “While working to dismantle drug trafficking organizations in the country the NDLEA will also partner with appropriate organizations towards ensuring qualitative treatment and care for persons with drug abuse treatment”
Abdallah promised to seek for funds to enable the Agency embark on elaborate anti-drug abuse campaign to reduce cases of drug trafficking especially Nigerians caught outside the country thereby affecting the image of the country negatively.
The Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni said that her Agency is working to prevent diversion of precursor chemicals address the problem of drug abuse particularly abuse of prescription medicines. “The online pre-export notification an initiative of INCB is an effective tool for monitoring the international movement of precursors. We are also working with other agencies to reduce cases of abuse of prescription medicines” she stated. According to the acting DG, the Nigerian government is in the process of conducting a national drug use survey. The outcome of the survey will guide regulatory action as well as help in developing appropriate drug prevention and treatment strategies.
A goodwill message from the minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole represented by pharmacist Beauty Okologo emphasized the importance of close working relations among stakeholders to find answers to the problem of drug abuse in the country. Present at the launch was the Jamaican High Commissioner, Ms. Ann Scott, representatives from the embassy of Netherlands, Germany, Norway, France and Niger.
Muhammad Abdallah, NDLEA chairman, Yetunde Oni, Ag DG of NAFDAC and UNDOC reps, Christina Albertin at the launching of the INCB report in Abuja