Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has decried growing consumption of cannabis among youths, saying Nigerians now hosts 10.6 million young people, who abuse marijuana and other hard substances.
He made the shocking revelation while delivering a lecture on ‘Drug abuse among youths in Africa: Implications for Nigerian economy and 2023 elections’ at the 10th anniversary of Realnews, an online magazine, yesterday, in Lagos.
The former military administrator (MILAD) of Lagos State noted: “It is disturbing that abusing marijuana and alcohol is the new normal for youths, especially the Gen Z and even the Millenials. For parents, who are adept at using social media, Snapchat offers graphic details of what our young people are doing with alcohol and psychotropic drugs.”
He blamed the society for the rise in drug abuse among youths, stating: “Today, you have all sorts of pro-cannabis groups, movements and activists all over the place. They make it seem as if smoking cannabis is innocuous and not dangerous to health, and, therefore, should be an inalienable right of the smoker.
“Even some politicians and institutions, focused on the economic gains of cultivation of cannabis, are ready to liberalise commercialisation of the plant. All of these send mixed messages to young people.”
Marwa warned that legalisation of cannabis and related substances would spell doom for a country like Nigeria that is still struggling with developmental issues.
While reliving milestones attained since assuming headship of the NDLEA 22 months ago, he said they include arrest of 19, 341 drug offenders and conviction of 3,111, besides seizure of 5.5 million kilogrammes of assorted hard substances.
“Previously, many Nigerians found it hard to believe that illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin are trafficked in and out of the country. But NDLEA has made huge seizures and there is no basis for scepticism anymore.
“If anything, NDLEA activities since January 2021 have further reinforced the fact of Nigeria being an important hub in the global illicit drug network, and secondly, that our country is not only a transit pipeline, but also a market,” he added.