President, Bola Tinubu says prevention of the transmission of drugs must be prioritised by the global community in order to address the challenge of organized crime.
He is therefore calling for strong partnerships among nations in curbing the menace, in order to guarantee peaceful and free societies around the world.
The Nigerian leader gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday, at the opening of the 31st meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF).
The President, who was represented on the occasion by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said: “Operational partnerships and cooperation to ensure that the outcome of these four days of deliberation will advance public safety and the emergence of drug-free African communities. Our stance has always been our proactive actions to prevent any individual or group from turning our countries into a minefield of drug trafficking.
“We must prioritize prevention, education and rehabilitation to empower our youth with knowledge and opportunities. We must scare them away from the treacherous path of drug abuse and trafficking and protect our economy from the consequences of their actions.”
President Tinubu said the hosting of the HONLAF conference by Nigeria underscores the commitment of the Nigerian government to the fight against drug trafficking and abuse.
“The choice of Nigeria for this gathering I believe is a profound recognition of the campaign and fight against illicit drugs in Nigeria as made by our lead agency, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
“We are hosting the 31st HOLAF meeting here to reassure you of our promise to participate in building a world not threatened by the infiltration of illicit drugs,” he said.
President Tinubu implored heads of national drug law enforcement agencies in Africa to renew the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in their respective countries.
Specifically, he warned vehemently that the African continent would remain in chains till it breaks free from the shackles of the criminal enterprises of drug barons and syndicates of illicit drugs.
“If we don’t dismantle the criminal enterprises that threaten our future and build a brighter tomorrow for all Africans, we will remain in chains in a diseased and amoral world, as will our children and their children,” he told the anti-narcotics agencies’ chiefs.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman NDLEA, retired General Buba Marwa, said the agency will continue to fight the menace of drug trafficking to rid the society of criminals.
Marwa restated the stakeholders’ commitment to addressing the world’s drug problem, noting that Nigeria will continue to uphold the objectives of multilateral organizations dedicated to combating drug trafficking and related crimes.
He lamented the danger of organized crime around the world, which he said must be controlled through collaboration, noting that the world’s drug problem cannot be effectively tackled by individual entities.