The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has commended some members of the House of Representatives for disagreeing with three of their colleagues over a bill seeking to legalise the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, for commercial purposes.
Reacting to the development on Friday, the NDLEA boss said the decision by a majority 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.
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According to him, the 2018 drug survey figure of 10.6m Nigerians abusing cannabis alone is enough to sound the alarm bell, adding that the strong nexus between drug abuse and the security challenges across the country is incontrovertible.
“Insecurity is today, a full-blown malady with many manifestations such as insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, murder, robbery, reprisal killing, name it. Yet there has never been a government that is more committed to ending this spate of insecurity than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The President has matched political will 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.
“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 honorable members of the House of Representatives to reject the reintroduction of the cannabis bill is a welcome and cheering news to us in the NDLEA and 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.”
Marwa said history would never forget those who stand with parents to protect them and their children from any legislation that will turn Nigeria to a nation of junkies and criminals, which will amount to taking a step forward and 10 steps backward in the prevailing circumstance.
Recall that the House had on Thursday voted down the bill harmoniously sponsored by Benjamin Kalu and Olumide Osoba, and Miriam Onuoha.
Apart from the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the sponsors, all those who spoke at the second reading on Thursday criticised the bill.
The criticisms against the proposal forced the sponsors to demand that it be stepped down for review, a prayer that the lawmakers unanimously granted.