Senator Babangida Hussaini, Representing Jigawa Northwest, sponsor of the motion.
By Aliyu Dangida
The Senate has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
This resolution was sequel to a motion on the growing menace of illicit drug use and other mind altering substances across Nigeria, during plenary on Tuesday.
The motion was sponsored by Senator Babangida Hussaini (Jigawa North West).
In his contribution to the debate, Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin said, “The future of every country lies in its youth and when you have something that is destroying your youth, it shows that your future is in jeopardy.
“This scourge is everywhere, even celebrities who are supposed to be role models, be exemplary and show the way for others to follow are also into it. Politicians alike and indeed, all spheres of our life.
“The NDLEA is doing very well but the motion is a wake-up call for all those that have the responsibility for making sure that we deal with this matter to wake up and make sure that they do the needful in getting this matter dealt with properly.
“We must include this phenomenon in our school curriculum to begin to teach our children from the primary school level, the negative effects of drug abuse.
“Elsewhere, like in the United States, there are courses even in the universities that deal with abuse. We need to put that on the front burner in our higher institutions so that people will be aware of the harmful effects of drug abuse.
“It is a sad commentary on the way things are done in this country. Human capital is what drives a good economy and we have an abundance of population but we are allowing it to get destroyed through the intake of illicit drugs”.
Several lawmakers who contributed during the debate expressed worry worry over the use of mood altering or psycho active, performance-enhancing drugs, dependency drugs as well as abuse of prescription drugs.
Experts identify the side effects of such practices to include; addiction, trauma, mental illness and oftentimes causes ill health, violence , death and involvement in criminal activities.
Senators noted that urgent action needed to be taken to avoid an escalation of the already precarious security challenges in the country.
The Senate subsequently resolved to among other to implore the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC), Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant government institutions to step up their efforts to curb the alarming consumption of Mkpuru mmiri and Kurkura which were prevalent in the Southern and Northern parts of the country.
It also directed its committee on NAFDAC, Drugs and Narcotics to liaise with relevant federal government agencies to convoke a National Summit on the state of drugs and narcotics abuse in the country.
Earlier, the sponsor of the motion, said the drug problem was fast becoming a “public health challenge.
While giving a statistical analysis of the record of drug abuse cases in Nigeria; Senator Hussaini said, “Nigeria is currently facing a rise in drug abuse which has reached an unprecedented level transforming from a mere transit route in the 1990s, into a country filled with drug abusers and drug traffickers all over its land space, while a population of 30 to 35 million spends approximately $15,000 and $30,000 annually on psychotropic drugs and alcoholic beverages, respectively.
“According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Union on drug use in Nigeria, about 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64, are drug abusers;
“The report stated that 10.6 million addicts were cannabis users, 4.6 addicts used pharmaceutical opioids and 238 thousand drug abusers used amphetamines;
“The report further revealed that the prevalence of drug use per geopolitical zone as far back as 2017 shows that the North-West zone accounted for 12% (3,000,000), North-East zone 13.6% (2,090,000), NorthCentral zone 10.0% (1,500,000), South-West zone 22.4% (4,382,000), South-South zone 16.6% (2,124,000), and the South-East zone 13.8% (1,550,000).
Lending his support to the motion, Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno (Borno North) told the Senate hazardous drug consumption has become a threat to the nation’s good governance.