The Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abass, Ph.D, on Wednesday, urged all relevant stakeholders to join hands with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

He gave the charge while speaking at the 2024 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which held at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with the theme: ‘The Evidence is Clear, Invest in Prevention.’

The Speaker, who was ably represented by the member representing Ibadan South East/North East federal constituency and the Chairman of House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Rep. Abass Adigun (Agboworin) lamented that the menace is speedily devastating the fabrics of Nigerian society, particularly the youth population.

Agboworin, while presenting the Speakers’ speech, called for more investment in comprehensive prevention programmes that would address the root causes of drug use and trafficking, saying stakeholders must ensure that traffickers are stopped from getting their destructive substances into the society.

“This requires a multi-sectoral approach involving government agencies, civil society organizations, families, and communities. It is against this background that we support increased investment in preventive actions especially in the areas of awareness-creation, education, counselling, advocacy and therapy to strengthen individual’s resistance against drug abuse,” he stated.

Agboworin, while commending the efforts of the NDLEA and one of its partners, UNODC, for working tirelessly to combat the menace, called for more budgetary provisions for NDLEA in the face of its multi-faceted mandate.

He, however, assured that the House of Representatives will continue to combat drug trafficking and abuse in the country, maintaining that the fight is a collective responsibility.

“We have passed several laws and resolutions aimed at strengthening the legal framework for drug control and providing the NDLEA with the resources it needs to effectively carry out its mandate. The recent amendment of the NDLEA ACT which prescribes the harshest punishments for manufacturers and traffickers of hard drugs is a clear indication of our commitment to this cause.

“We must all work together to create a society that is free from the scourge of drugs. We must educate our children about the dangers of drugs, provide support to those who are struggling with addiction, and work to prevent the trafficking of illicit drugs,” he concluded.

In his address, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), OFR, said operatives of the agency have 52,901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, and obtained over 9,000 convictions of suspects in the last three years.

The NDLEA boss said efforts to achieve a drug-free Nigeria are being led with preventive steps, one of which has been blocking distribution channels.

Other dignitaries who spoke at the event include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Senator Sadiq Umar, who represented the Senate President; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN; the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman; Chairman of

MTN Foundation, Julius Adeluyi and guest lecturer at the event, Dr. Vincent Udenze of Intersect Consortium, among others.