The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, says the use of credible data is essential in the fight against drug abuse.
Marwa said this at the inauguration of the “West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) Report of Statistics and Trends’’ on illicit drug use and supply 2018-2019, yesterday in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement issued by the NDLEA spokesperson, Mr Femi Babafemi.
According to Marwa, Nigerians are prepared to continue to provide credible data to sustain the fight against drug abuse.
He lamented that the number of people using illicit drugs in Africa might rise by 40 per cent by 2030.
According to him, the misuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription medications, exert tremendous toll on the individual, families, communities and societies.
“Substance use has impacted negatively on public health, caused injuries, loss of income and productivity, family and community dysfunction and even death.
“Drug use around the world has been on the increase in terms of the overall number and the proportion of the world’s population that use drugs.
“The continuous increase in the types of new psychoactive substances being discovered globally is also worrisome,’’ he said.
The NDLEA boss said, according to the World Drug Report 2020, an estimated 269 million people representing 5.3 per cent of the global population was reported to have used drugs in 2018.
This he said was against 210 million in 2009 representing 4.8 per cent.
“The West Africa Sub Region is in the limelight at the international scene, because of its role as a transit hub for cocaine from South America, heroin from East Asia to Europe and its heightened tramadol, codeine and cannabis use.
“Furthermore, going by the projection of demographic factors, by 2030, the number of people using drugs is expected to rise by 11 per cent around the world and as much as 40 per cent in Africa alone,’’ he said.
Marwa said that the role of credible data in addressing the world drug problem could not be over emphasised.
He added that West African states, just like the rest of Africa, had been grappling with the problem of dearth of credible data on the trend of drug use in the sub region.
He assured that Nigeria would continue to play its role to support the sustainability of WENDU.
This, he said would be achieved by continuously providing credible data through its National Sentinel Network, the Nigerian Epidemiological Network on Drug Use (NENDU).
Marwa urged all ECOWAS member states to employ this well-articulated report for informed policy formulation, programming and monitoring of our interventions in the Sub Region for better outcome in our drug control efforts.
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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