Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) that the State Government would continue to collaborate with it to address the scourge of drug crisis in Nigeria.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration has put in place some measures, among which is building a full-fledge mental health rehabilitation hospital to tackle drug crisis in the State.
He said: “Indeed we know that drug abuse is prevalent in our society in all forms and shape. For us as a government, it is not something we are sweeping under the carpet. We are not denying that it is there. Part of the things we are doing to tackle it is to ensure that we have functional and working rehabilitation centres and we are equipping them to identify real caregivers that will take victims through rehabilitation process.
“Beyond that, we are actually building a full-fledged mental health rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejinrin in Lagos East Senatorial District. This we believe will not only have almost 500 beds but will also have a required expertise, medical and all of the complements to ensure that different categories of treatments required are available.
“We will collaborate with different commands of NDLEA in Lagos. We will try and strengthen our level of relationships for quicker response. All of us need to have a strong advocacy; parents, religious and traditional leaders need to be true to themselves and let us know that, it is only when we speak about it that we can indeed get proper solutions.
“We will not condone criminality coming out of this because that also portends a great danger to law abiding citizens. So, we need to define clearly between people that are just abusing it and people that are criminalizing it, and be able to deal with them accordingly.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also assured Marwa, who was a former Military Administrator of Lagos State that his administration will continue to raise the bar of governance in the State.
“I want to welcome you and your team back home. On behalf of the people of Lagos State, we thank you for the blue print and all the innovative ideas as one-time Military Administrator in this State and for all the numerous and very laudable initiatives that you set up; that is what some of us are building on today and we certainly cannot thank you enough. We assure you that certainly we will not relent on our oars; we will continue to raise the bar of governance and make you proud,”
Speaking earlier, Marwa, who commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration for the efforts being made to address drug abuse in the State, called for integrity drug test for students and politicians, especially those contesting for public offices, noting that “running for public offices is a big responsibility. You shouldn’t be in this important assignment for the public and your head is filled up because of drugs.”
He said: “The drug scourge is now an epidemic in Nigeria. The prevalence is 15 per cent; three times the global average. One in seven Nigerians takes drugs. We have found out that there is nexus between drug use and crime.
“We know and commend Governor Sanwo-Olu for the efforts being made on the issue of drug abuse in the State. Lagos is first in Nigeria in some of the innovative ways. So, we felt that Lagos can show the way first with the integrity drug test for students because it is our youths that are affected mostly. So, students, especially those in tertiary institutions should do drug tests.”
Marwa also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for providing effective leadership in Lagos State and for managing COVID-19 in the State.
“I want to use this opportunity to commend you for the excellent manner that you are running the affairs of the State. Quite a complex assignment and you are doing very well. In fact, it is because of your proactive nature on COVID matter that we are here today.
“In Nigeria, it would have been far worse but you picked it up with both hands and dealt with it and now, we are all benefitting in the country. We are grateful for this foresight,” the ex-Military Administrator of Lagos State declared.