The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) on Friday said cannabis cannot be legalised in the country considering the current security challenges.
Speaking during a public lecture in Akure the Ondo state capital, Marwa said “the proliferation of illicit drugs often engenders a pattern of crime, chaos and conflict.”
The NDLEA boss was represented at the event by his Special Adviser on National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho.
According to the NDLEA boss, hard drugs is the driver of high crime rate and violent killings in the inner cities of advanced world countries.
“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 out in Syria, which has become the hotbed of Captagon, and Afghanistan, which controls the opium trade,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Babafemi.
“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 tettering 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.”
Bearing in mind the security challenges across the country, Marwa stated, “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”
He equally warned that the population of Nigerians that depend on cannabis alone is more than the population of countries like Portugal, Greece or the Republic of Benin.
Marwa therefore warned that 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.