The Nigerian Government has stepped up its drug war with the launch of drug free university campaign. The chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Retired Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa who flagged off the campaign on behalf of Govetnment at the University of Abuja has also called for all tertiary institutions in Nigeria to make drug integrity test an institutional policy for both new and returning students as part of efforts to fight the menace of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
Gen. Marwa who made the call at the University of Abuja while launching the ‘drug free university campaign’ on Wednesday 9th February, 2022 also called for a partnership between the NDLEA and the university system that will allow the agency set up outposts on campuses to further strengthen the authorities in fighting the scourge.
He explained that the Drug Integrity Test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. Adding that, the University of Abuja, being the “University of National Unity”, will be the first public university in Nigeria to adopt the Drug Integrity Test for fresh and returning students of the institution.
The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care. This will also entail that the university will develop a drug policy and make such available to each student. Equally important is the need to create an NDLEA outpost on the campus where we’ll deploy our men to assist the authorities, deter drug dealers and users within the university.”
It is instructive and worrisome to know that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis. Note that these age groups comprised of young people who are either in secondary or tertiary institutions . To simplify the report of the survey: young people are overwhelmingly the majority of drug abusers in Nigeria. That is a jolting reality because youths are the building blocks of every developed nation and anything that affects the youth population affects the nation.
Others who spoke at the ceremony include representatives of the Minister of Education, National Universities Commission, and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah. They commended the collaboration between NDLEA and the university as part of renewed efforts to stamp out the problem of drug abuse in the country.