The Pan-African Students Union Parliament (ASUP) has urged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to adjust its mandate to focus more on preventing drug abuse through sensitisation campaigns.
The Nigerian Coordinator of ASUP, Mr Henry Nwankwo, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in Lagos.
Nwankwo expressed concern that many Nigerians were ignorant of the effects of hard drugs to their health, and although NDLEA had been championing campaigns against drugs and substance abuse, it needed to do more on preventive measures, through orientation and sensitization, rather than concentrating majorly on punishment.
‘`This is because, before one possesses drugs, such a person must have gone deep into drug abuse.
“I want to challenge the NDLEA to step up its campaigns, to enable citizens make informed decisions when it comes to issues relating to drugs.
“How many Nigerians know the consequences of peddling drugs or substances?
Nwankwo decried the high rate of drug abuse among teenagers and students in the country, urging the agency to intensify its campaigns on the effects of drug abuse in schools; particularly secondary and tertiary institutions.
He said that educating citizens about the laws against drugs and substance abuse and the health effects of using drugs would help to address the increasing number of Nigerians smuggling or abusing drugs in the country.
“Let NDLEA go into the society, campuses and secondary schools, to enlighten them on the effects of these drugs.
“People’s mindsets need to be changed, educated and re-orientated to realise that the drugs they are taking, producing, selling or distributing, will have negative effects on human life, so that they will possibly desist.
“I believe that reorientation of people’s mindset will go far in acquainting them with the inherent dangers in drug abuse and other forms of immoral acts,’’ Nwankwo said.
He added that the enlightenment would also help to address cases of our citizens being arrested or killed abroad as a result of drug peddling. (NAN)