The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, says the proponents of the legalization of cannabis sativa cannot have what they desire.
Marwa spoke at the 2021 Ulefunta annual public lecture organised by the Deji Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, in Akure.
In a statement by the agency’s Director, Media and Advocacy; Mr Femi Babafemi on Friday in Abuja; the NDLEA boss emphatically laid the basis for his position. Marwa, represented by his Special Adviser on National Drug Control Master Plan, Lanre Ipinmisho, said that in the advanced world; drugs had been the driver of high crime rate and violent killings.
According to him, in developing or third world countries, drug is the escalator of strife, pogroms and war.
“We have seen narco-terrorism in Colombia and Mexico where drug cartels are law unto themselves and are as powerful; if not more powerful, than the state.
“So, there are real cases, not scenarios, of where and how illicit substances played a role in a society’s rapid descent into chaos and tethering on the brink of a failed state.
“So, the pertinent question for us today is: Has drugs played any role in the festering insecurity in Nigeria? The answer is yes. Of this we have ample evidence.
“Cannabis sativa is the most abused of all illicit drugs…From the findings of the National Drug Survey of 2018, it is becoming a national albatross,” he said.
Further, Marwa warned that the population of Nigerians hooked on cannabis alone was more than the population of Portugal; as well as Greece or the Republic of Benin. Consequently, he said that as such, the nation could not afford to toy with the grim reality of the danger of legalizing cannabis; especially when all the needed infrastructure to monitor and control that were still far from being in place.
“Canada that is pro-cannabis has strong and efficient institutions that are way ahead of Nigeria,” he said.
Additionally, the NDLEA boss warned that people should stop treating cannabis like some sweet candy without any side effects; saying that its repercussions outweighed the vaunted benefits. He added that legalizing its cultivation for a country such as Nigeria would not do any good.
“Cannabis remains an illicit substance. The agency shall always campaign against its cultivation, possession, trafficking, sales and use.
“Offenders will face the wrath of the law. And, if I may add, our conviction rate is 90 per cent successful,” he said.