…As 14.3m Nigerians use drugs
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
The national oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said, as a socially responsible corporate entity, it would support the fight against drug trafficking in Nigeria. The oil company would be providing technical support to the drugs czar, National Drug law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in fight against illicit drugs in the country.
Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPC, made the commitment in Abuja during the visit of the management team of the NDLEA led by its chairman, Muhammad Buba Marwa, a retired army brigadier-general.
However, Kyari did not inform the level of support to the drugs czar.
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2018 indicates that Nigeria’s 15 per cent of adult population of 15 years to 64 years (14.3 million) reported a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances—a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6 per cent among adults.
A national survey on drug use and health conducted in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) with technical support from UNODC and funding by the European Union showed that over the past year alone (2017), nearly 15 per cent of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) testified a significant level of use of psychoactive drug substances.
The survey further revealed that one in four drug users in Nigeria is a woman; 376,000 Nigerians are high risk drug users, with one of five high risk drug users injecting drugs. Drug use was most common among those who were between the ages of 25 and 39 years, while the rates of past year use were lowest among those who were below 24 years of age.
Other details by the UNODC World Drug report indicate that the numbers of past year users in 2017 are: 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis; 4.6 million consume pharmaceutical opioids; 2.4 million use cough syrup; 481,000 use tranquilizers and sedatives; 340,000 use ecstasy; 300,000 use solvents and inhalants; 238,000 use amphetamines and prescription stimulants; while 92,000 other Nigerians crack cocaine.
According to Kyari, the NNPC group managing director, beyond the strict enforcement of the drug policy in the corporation, there was need for the national oil company to be “sensitive to the ravaging effect of drug abuse in the larger society.”
“Consumption of illicit drugs is a major problem in this country, ravaging communities and all categories of people and dispositions. As an enabler organization that is very conscious of what happens in our country, we are very interested in the containment of illicit drugs in Nigeria,” he said.
Muhammad Buba Marwa, the chairman and chief executive officer of NDLEA, had appealed to the NPPC for support in the fight against the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria.