State governments have been asked to prioritise the fight against substance abuse in their strategic work plans for a safe and secure society.
This charge was given on Monday at the opening ceremony of a two-day training on Drug Prevention Treatment and Care, DPTC, organized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for spouses of state governors in Abuja.
In her keynote address at the event, wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who was special guest of honour, tasked the states to see the war against the drug menace as a collective effort.
The First Lady, who was represented by wife of the Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Elizabeth Egbetokun, commended the NDLEA and the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum for the initiative.
“We must recognise that drug abuse is not just a law enforcement issue but a public health crisis that requires a compassionate and multi-faceted response.
“We must challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with addiction, and foster a culture of empathy, understanding and solidarity towards those struggling with substance use disorders.
“As mothers, we understand the profound impact that drug abuse can have on our children’s lives. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to protect, nurture, and guide them towards a future free from the shackles of addiction.
“As leaders in your respective states, you wield a unique platform to drive meaningful change. The role of Governors’ spouses in combating drug abuse cannot be overstated. Through advocacy, we can ensure access to prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for those affected by addiction.
“However, our efforts must not end with this training. We must translate knowledge into action, collaborating with stakeholders such as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, other government agencies, civil society organizations, healthcare providers, educators, and students.
“Together, we can implement evidence-based strategies for prevention, early intervention, and holistic treatment approaches,” she said.
In his remarks, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, commended the resourcefulness of the NDLEA leadership in utilising the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum to cascade the drug war into the grassroots and the community level.
He said, “The issue of drug use is not confined to any region or social strata, but affects every corner of our nation, and propagates crime and other criminalities across the world.
“The critical role of the attendees in shaping policies and practices in the communities is therefore recognized.”
NDLEA boss Mohammed Marwa urged the governors’ wives to take advantage of their positions to mobilise support for drug prevention and treatment in their states.
“Our commanders and officers in your states are always available to work with you and the governors; please create the needed access for them so that they can serve you and the society better.
“Together, we can effect meaningful change and create healthier, safer communities for all. Your collective effort can become the biggest catalyst for the nation to triumph over the illicit drug challenge,” he said