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Drug traffickers deserve stringent punishment- Obi



Drug traffickers deserve stringent punishment- Obi

Former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has called for ‘strigent punishment’ for drug traffickers in Nigeria.


Obi said drug abuse affects productivity of Nigerian youths. He said commitment must be made to rehabilitate youths cut in the ‘web’ of drug abuse.


The former governor of Anambra State said this on Wednesday, June 25, to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.


Obi said, “It is a day set out to strengthen actions that will rid the society of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.


“It is also a day that reminds us of the need to direct more concerted efforts towards preventing drug abuse and guiding those weighed down by addiction through the path of freedom. For a predominantly youthful population, Nigeria, where poverty and where unemployment are on the increase, the incidence of drug abuse remains high. Economic hardship and other poor socio-economic factors have been identified as the leading factors fueling drug abuse among our youth.


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“A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that Nigeria and some African countries will witness a 40 percent rise in the population of drug users, especially the youth population if urgent measures are not taken.


“The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reports that about 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years, abuse drugs. The National Bureau of Statistics reports a 14.4 per cent drug prevalence in Nigeria, which is twice the global average of 5.8 percent.


“Drugs and substance abuse have contributed to high rates of crime, moral decadence in society, and other associated health hazards. It also greatly dampens the productivity of the people, especially the youth population.”


He added, “We must, therefore, seek to save our nation from the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking. More efforts must be channeled into preventing the spread of this virus.


“The government should invest in rehabilitating those already caught in the web of drug abuse and stringent punishment meted out to drug traffickers. With commitment and sincerity of action, we can achieve a drug-free nation.”