The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has hailed the decision of the House of Representatives to step down a bill to decriminalise cannabis cultivation, sale and use in Nigeria.
NDLEA chairman, retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, gave the commendation in a statement issued by the agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi on Friday in Abuja.
The House of Representatives had stepped down the bill on Thursday.
Responding to the development, the NDLEA boss said the decision of the lawmakers to reject the bill would further strengthen the gains so far made in the renewed war against drug abuse and trafficking in the country.
Mr Marwa said the 2018 drug survey figure of 10.6 million Nigerians abusing cannabis alone was enough to sound the alarm bell.
He said that the strong nexus between drug abuse and the security challenges across the country was incontrovertible.
According to him, insecurity, as manifested in banditry, insurgency ,kidnapping and others, is today a full-blown malady.
“Yet there has never been a government that is more committed to ending this spate of insecurity than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
Mr Marwa said the president has matched political willpower with resources, but the scope and frequency of these acts of destabilisation and the audacity displayed by the perpetrators call for a second, critical look at the malaise.
He said, “the persistence of the problem has forced on us the necessity to start to look at likely extraneous factors that might be sustaining the resistance from the criminal elements and in doing so, try to connect the dots.
“The permutations will lead to a list of probable causes, which will not exclude the use and abuse of illicit substances. In the final analysis, drug abuse is indeed one of the factors fueling insecurity.
“As such, Nigeria cannot afford to permit the cultivation, sale and use of the most abused illicit drug under whatever guise.
“This is why the decision by the honourable members of the House of Representatives to reject the reintroduction of the cannabis bill is a welcome and cheering news to us in NDLEA.
“It is a big thing also to the Nigerian public, especially parents who daily and silently contend with the pains of seeing millions of their kids and wards go down under the devastating effects of cannabis abuse,” he said.
Mr Marwa said history would never forget those who stand with parents to protect them and their children against the dangers of drug abuse.