The First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), as well as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.) have urged state governments to prioritise the fight against substance abuse in their strategic work plans to have a safe and secure society.

They spoke at the opening ceremony of a two-day training on Drug Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) organised by NDLEA for governors’ spouses yesterday in Abuja.

The First Lady, who was special guest of honour, urged the states to see the war against the drug menace as a collective effort.

Mrs. Tinubu, who was represented by wife of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mrs. Elizabeth Egbetokun, hailed Marwa and the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses’ Forum for the initiative.

“I commend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, under the leadership of His Excellency, Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (retired) CON, OFR, for organising this vital training and for your ongoing efforts in combatting drug abuse in Nigeria.

“I equally commend the Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses’ Forum, Her Excellency, Ambassador (Dr.) Olufolake Abdulrazaq, for this significant collaboration.

“We must recognise that drug abuse is not just a law enforcement issue but a public health crisis that requires a compassionate and multi-faceted response. We must challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with addiction and foster a culture of empathy, understanding, and solidarity towards those struggling with substance use disorders.

“As mothers, we understand the profound impact that drug abuse can have on our children’s lives. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to protect, nurture, and guide them towards a future free from the shackles of addiction.

“As leaders in your respective states, you wield a unique platform to drive meaningful change. The role of governors’ spouses in combating drug abuse cannot be overstated. Through advocacy, we can ensure access to prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for those affected by addiction.

“However, our efforts must not end with this training. We must translate knowledge into action, collaborating with stakeholders, such as the NDLEA other government agencies, civil society organisations, healthcare providers, educators, and students.

“Together, we can implement evidence-based strategies for prevention, early intervention, and holistic treatment approaches,” she said.

Fagbemi praised the resourcefulness of the NDLEA leadership in utilising the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses’ Forum to cascade the drug war into the grassroots and the community level.

Marwa noted that the devastating effects of substance abuse on public health, the environment, and its nexus with the spate of insecurity faced across the country made it mandatory for a whole-of-society approach to curb the scourge.

He said this had been the focus of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign that NDLEA started in 2021.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman (SAN), who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack, assured the NDLEA of collaboration with his ministry in combatting substance abuse among students.

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