The First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Thursday expressed determination to strengthen advocacy towards ending the menace of drug trafficking and addiction among young women and youths in Nigeria.
Buhari said this during 2022 Conference on Drug Awareness organised by the Initiative against Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nigeria(IAASAN), in collaboration with the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abuja.
In a statement made available to journalists by her Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs and Strategy, Mr Sani Zorro, she also urged stakeholders to join forces towards addressing the challenges associated with drug abuse in the country.
“It is only by working together that we could avoid the tragedy and helplessness of nations severely impacted by the drug trade and associated crimes,” she said.
She, therefore, emphasised the need for traditional and religious organisations to join the fight to help tackle the menace of drug trafficking and addiction in Nigeria.
“Imagine if our mosques and churches, priests and clergies had vigorously lent their voices, and asserted their influence towards cleansing the society of the menace of drug addiction and substance abuse!
“Imagine how germane and more relevant they could have been if our political parties were to prioritize societal challenges such as the fight against illicit drugs.
“Not only shall we give hope to communities challenged by this syndrome, we would have shown clear readiness to launch into a fundamental reform of our value system,” she said.
The first lady also told the gathering that women have a vital role to play towards moulding the characters of their children for better upbringing.
“In this campaign, women can therefore serve as educators and motivators of right attitudes that their children would emulate,” she said.
The first lady, however, expressed worry over the rate of illicit drug users in the country.
She said, ‘sadly, one out of every four drug users, one is a woman.”
According to her, ”the 2021 joint survey of the National Bureau of Statistics and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), supported by the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) was disturbing.
”Nigeria had 14.3million out of its productive population engaged in drug abuse and the figure is projected to rise by 40 per cent, by the year 2030.
”This is approximately 20 million of our 200 million + population, unless there is deliberate, massive and collaborative intervention to stem the tide,” she said.
The first lady, therefore, stressed the need for stakeholders to ensure deliberate efforts were made to tackle the menace.
“Because, drugs induce generalized violence in local and urban communities, they are helping to fuel the violent conflicts in several parts of our country, today.
”We should therefore be worried at the rate of the dare-devilry with which the conspiracy to render our country into a drug-hub is being crystallized,”she urged.
She, therefore, appreciated the organisers for their thoughtfulness and sense of empathy for the event.
According to her, the conference will bring to the public domain the urgent need to focus on the rehabilitation.
The president’s wife expressed readiness to support any course geared towards tackling the menace.
The event was aimed at strengthening awareness to draw the attention of the public to the dangers of drug abuse to the health and well-being of Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation.