Tinubu harps on renewed fight against substance abuse in Africa

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President Bola Tinubu has harped on the need for heads of national drug law enforcement agencies in Africa to renew the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Tinubu made the call while declaring open the 31st meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The president, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima in a keynote address titled, ‘Rising Above Drug Threat’, said Africa was “at the mercy of a threat that knew neither race nor geography, gender nor social class.

He said if nothing decisive was done to break from the stronghold of the criminal enterprises of drug barons and syndicates of illicit drugs, Africa would remain in chains.

“If we do not dismantle the criminal enterprises that threaten our future and build a brighter tomorrow for all Africans, we will remain in chains in a diseased and amoral world.

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He said the conference should be regarded as a ray of hope and a catalyst for positive change across the continent.

“This threat has crossed borders and destroyed societies and dreams.

“Without the moral commitment of the men and women in this room, this threat would have left cities, countries, and even civilizations erased.

“So, I must commend you for your sacrifices to keep our world drug-free, sane and safe.

“This conference emphasises your investment across borders, to protect us from the devastation of drugs,”he said.

The President who is Chairman, Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), commended the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) for creating providing intelligence.

The president also commended UNODC, HONLAF and other partners for affording drug law enforcement officials the opportunity to build networks that would be ahead of criminal network of drug transnational organisations.

He said criminal organisations had continued to made effort to breach the security measures in African countries.

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“While it is a compliment that drug law enforcement organisations are a threat to their criminal empires, their desperation must never be taken for granted.

“Without you as gatekeepers of healthy nations, humanity as we know it would have long been perverted.

“So, on behalf of the world, I say thank you all who have kept us from being polluted and destroyed.

“For us, the commitment to the fight against drug trafficking and substance abuse is not just a matter of policy, it is a moral imperative”he said.

He further said, “we recognise that a population at war with drugs is not a dividend but a liability.

“We believe that the future of our youth, the strength of our institutions and the well-being of our communities depend on our ability to eradicate this threat.”

On the choice of Nigeria for the conference, President Tinubu said it was a profound recognition of the country’s campaign and fight against illicit drugs by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

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“We are hosting the 31st HONLAF meeting here to reassure you of our promise to participate in building a world not threatened by the infiltration of illicit drugs,” he said.

Earlier, Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, commended stakeholders’ commitment to addressing the world’s drug problem.

He assured that Nigeria would continue to uphold the objectives of multilateral organisations’ dedicated to combating drug trafficking and related crimes.

He called on the need for global partnerships in addressing drug trafficking and other vices, adding that world’s drug problem could not be effectively tackled by individual entities.

 

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