The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (retd.), has urged the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and other political leaders in the country to undertake a drug test.
“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 told Sanwo-Olu during a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the NDLEA chair encouraged the governor to take the lead in demonstrating to the country the importance of taking “integrity” drug tests.
In the build-up to the last governorship race in Lagos in 2018, the incumbent governor had accused the immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode of lying against him (Sanwo-Olu) that he was a drug addict.
Marwa stated further, “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 a nexus between drug use and crime.
“We felt that Lagos can show the way first with integrity drug tests for students because it is our youths that are affected mostly; students, especially those in tertiary institutions, should do drug tests.”
Mr. Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a “full-fledged” mental health rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejinrin, Lagos East Senatorial District, to tackle drug abuse effects.
He added that the state would continue to collaborate with NDLEA to address the drug crisis. According to him, the state has put in place measures to tackle the drug crisis.
Admitting the drug abuse crisis, Mr. Sanwo-Olu explained, “Indeed, we know that drug abuse is prevalent in our society in all forms and shapes. 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 processes.
“Beyond that, we are actually building a fully-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 the required expertise, medical and all of the complements, to ensure that different categories of treatments required are available.”