President Buhari in Abuja inaugurated the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) initiated by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The president, at the event, buttressed that the war against drug abuse was dangerous than the war against insurgency and banditry because it targeted three generations for destruction.
According to President Buhari, the war against drug abuse and illicit trafficking is a war that must be fought by well-meaning citizens.
He said “it is, therefore, my pleasure to declare on behalf of the good people of Nigeria, a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), not just as a slogan, but a call for civil action for all Nigerians to take an active part in this war.
“Let me say that this war is deadly than the insurgency we have in the Northeastern part of the country or the acts of banditry in the Northwest or acts of kidnapping that transcends all the geopolitical zones of this country because it is a war that is destroying three generations.
”I’ve seen clips of where grandparents are on drugs, parents are on drugs, and by extension, their wards, their children are on drugs.
“So, this is a war that is targeting three generations in a stretch.
”I believe strongly that every effort must be put in place to ensure that we deal with the issues of substance abuse and trafficking and manufacture so that we can get to the root cause as ably elucidated by our keynote speaker this afternoon.
”I believe strongly, with every bit of conviction, that if we are able to deal with the issue of drug abuse, our security challenges will drastically reduce as we walk toward a drug-free Nigeria.”
Buhari, therefore, implored Nigerians from every stratum of life, including traditional and religious leaders, local leadership at every level, to be vigilant and to support WADA.
Buhari charged the NDLEA to intensify efforts at ridding the country of criminal elements.
He added that criminal elements had made forest areas their hideouts, from where they had been launching criminal onslaughts as well as for farming marijuana.
He said: “I am directing the NDLEA to develop a robust risk-communication and community engagement strategy that will not only disseminate the four pillars of the plan to responsible entities but deal with destroying production sites and laboratories.
“NDLEA should also break the supply chain, discourage drug use and prosecute offenders as well as traffickers, rehabilitate addicts and enforce relevant laws.
“I want to particularly draw the attention of the agency to the fact that the use of many of our forests as criminal hideouts is because large swathes of cannabis plantations are hidden deep within those forests.”
He also urged families, schools, Civil Society Organisations, professional associations, religious organizations, academia, community leaders, and individuals to work for the common good to rid communities of drug use and trafficking.
The president said his administration would continue to address underlying causes of drug abuse, including poverty reduction, ”for which my pledge to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years and strengthened by the recently developed National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy signposts my unwavering commitment.”
He appreciated stakeholders and international collaborators, especially the European Union and the UN Office for Drugs and Control, for their unwavering support to the nation’s drug control efforts, including the development of a roadmap.
He also appreciated members of the inter-ministerial committee on drug control for their contributions and efforts to national drug control initiatives.