Marwa Explains Why Cannabis Can’t Be Legalised In Nigeria Now

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Cannabis Sativa (Indian Hemp)

*Lagos To Assist NDLEA Tackle Drug Abuse, Obasa Assures

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) has explained why proponents of the legalisation of cannabis sativa cannot have their way under the prevailing security situation in Nigeria today.

Gen. Marwa spoke as guest speaker at the 2021 Ulefunta annual public lecture organised by the Deji of Akure Kingdom, the Ondo State capital, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi and chaired by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae.

Laying the basis for his argument, the NDLEA Chief Executive said, “the proliferation of illicit drugs often engenders a pattern of crime, chaos and conflict. In the advanced world, it is the driver of high crime rate and violent killings in the inner cities.

“In developing or Third World countries, it is the escalator of strife, pogroms and civil war, and has played a big role in countries torn to pieces by tribal war, such as it is playing our in Syria, which has become the hotbed of Captagon, and Afghanistan, which controls the opium trade.

“We have seen narco-terrorism in countries like Colombia and Mexico where drug cartels are law unto themselves and are as powerful, if not more powerful, than the State.

“So, there are real cases, not scenarios, of where and how illicit substances played a role in a society’s rapid descent into chaos and tittering on the brink of a failed state.

“So the pertinent question for us today is: Has drugs played any role in the festering insecurity in Nigeria? The answer is yes. Of this we have ample evidence.”

Represented by his Special Adviser on National Drug Control Master Plan, NDCMP, Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho, Gen. Marwa stated that considering the intractable burden of insecurity facing the country, “we do not have the luxury of allowing a narcotic economy to take root and thrive in our society. Africa, nay, Nigeria has enough problems without adding the burden of narco-terrorism.

“Of all the known illicit substances, Cannabis sativa is the only one that is native to Nigeria and it is the most abused of all illicit drugs, and from the findings of the National drug Survey of 2018, cannabis is becoming a national albatross”

Warning that the population of Nigerians hooked on cannabis alone is more than the population of countries like Portugal, Greece or the Republic of Benin, he said as such the nation cannot afford to toy with the grim reality of the danger of legalising cannabis when all the needed infrastructure to monitor and control that are still far from being in place.

“Where cannabis is concerned, we should not by any argument allow ourselves to become the proverbial fool that rushed in where angels fear to tread. Countries like Canada that are pro-cannabis have strong and efficient institutions that are way ahead of ours by long mileages.

“Given the reality of our law enforcement, controlled cultivation of cannabis is a mirage. Aren’t pharmaceutical opioids controlled? Tramadol, codeine, rohypnol, benzopam, they are all controlled, yet, their trafficking and abuse is causing us unquantifiable human and economic loss.

Similarly, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has promised that the state legislature will continue to support the fight against drug abuse and its effects on the youths and residents of the state.

Obasa made the promise when he played host to top officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) led by its state commander, Mr. Ralph Igwenagu, on Thursday evening.

The Speaker expressed hope that a collective fight against the societal challenge would help to further sustain a safe and well-protected Lagos.

He said he was not surprised that Lagos has been described as one of the epicentres of drug abuse in the country saying with an influx of people from other states, it should be expected.

“I am not disappointed that Lagos has been rated number one. Lagos has become an abode for everybody – the good and the bad – and this has become a challenge to the government.

“That is why it is difficult for the Lagos government to project. When you project for a certain number of people this year, before you know it, more than three times your projection will enter the state.

“That is why we make efforts to support the Federal Government by equipping the Rapid Response Squad. We also set up the Security Trust Fund, the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and others to ensure that lives and property are protected,” he said. He added that collaboration by stakeholders was important because the negative effects of drug abuse affects everybody since some engage in criminal activities.

The Speaker commended the NDLEA officials for attending a recent stakeholders’ meeting organised by the House to enlighten residents against drug abuse.

Earlier, Mr. Igwenagu thanked the House for organising the Stakeholders’ meeting saying it helped in reaching the grassroots of the state.

“We want to request that you sustain that exercise. We know that with you, it is possible because members of the House of Assembly are grassroots politicians and can reach out to the youths.”

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