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HONLAF: Tinubu pledges continued commitment to combat substance abuse, Illicit drug trafficking

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, has reiterated his administration’s unwavering commitment to the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Speaking at the opening of the 31st meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF), President Tinubu affirmed his administration’s dedication to providing the necessary support and tools to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in fulfilling its mandate.

Highlighting the intrinsic link between eradicating substance abuse and achieving socio-economic and security objectives, President Tinubu described the fight against drug trafficking and substance abuse as both a policy and moral imperative. He emphasized the significance of prevention, education, and rehabilitation to guide young people away from the pitfalls of drug abuse and protect the nation’s economy from its adverse effects.

Addressing participants at the conference, President Tinubu called for innovative strategies to dismantle drug cartels across the African continent and praised the selfless dedication of drug law enforcement agencies to safeguarding nations from the pernicious influence of illicit drugs. He also acknowledged the growing threat of drug use disorders among young people and urged a concerted effort to bridge treatment gaps, especially for women.

President Tinubu expressed gratitude to the law enforcement agencies for their continuous commitment to keeping the world drug-free and commended their role in preserving the well-being of societies and individuals.

The President, speaking on the significance of hosting the 31st HONLAF meeting in Nigeria, acknowledged the country’s efforts to lead the campaign against illicit drugs and its resilience in the face of criminal organizations attempting to undermine security measures.

Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, echoed the global challenge posed by drug abuse and trafficking, emphasizing the need for operational networks and heightened efforts in the fight against drugs. He drew attention to the growing number of young drug users, the lack of treatment availability, and the specific challenges faced by women in accessing treatment.

President Tinubu encouraged the conference to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among African countries, underscoring the importance of regional perspectives in shaping global drug policy discussions.

The event also featured a presentation on “Organised Crime in Nigeria: A Threat Assessment (NOCTA),” a report produced by the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) in collaboration with security agencies and supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report aims to connect transit and production countries in the fight against organized crime, fostering partnerships and coalitions to combat these threats.

Representatives from UNODC, including Ghada Fathi Waly and the Chairman of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, endorsed the gathering and encouraged delegates to leverage the platform for meaningful collaboration and progress in the fight against illicit drugs.

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