Test Nigerian leaders for drug abuse – Emir Sanusi
Laments use of drug addicts as body guards by leaders …Afenifere, Osuntokun back Sanusi’s call …Senate working to tackle drug abuse menace — Saraki …N4.1bn drugs burnt in Kano; problem continues — Deputy Gov The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, has called for a law to compel Nigerian political and religious leaders, including lawmakers, governors and traditional rulers, to undertake drug test. According to him, leaders in the country condone the use of illegal substances by their bodyguards and thugs. Sanusi, who made the call at the opening of a two-day Senate Roundtable on Drug Abuse Epidemic in Nigeria, organised by the Senate in Kano yesterday, said he would be happy to subject himself to same test. He said: “I will be happy to subject myself to drug test. We deceive ourselves if we say we are not part of the problem. 90 per cent of issues that we have, flourish due to lack of political will. “Anybody who an element of drug abuse is found in him should quickly resign his position because he is not fit to hold public position.’’ He said it was hypocritical and amounted to mere talk for a governor or senator or any big political office holder, to speak against drug abuse in the society, while having highly drugged thugs as his body guards moving around freely. “Today, it is better to be a drug baron on the payroll of a political leader, than to be a legally recognised security man, which means we must clean our acts before trying to achieve anything. President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (middle); Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II (left)) and the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafizu Abubakar, during the opening session of the Senate Roundtable Conference on Drugs and Substance Abuse in Kano, yesterday. Drug addicts as body guards “Political leaders employ and support drug addicts as body guards, despite their unlimited access to established security agencies, both public and private.” He said he was “very ready and happy to be subjected to drugs test. And if I am found not worthy of being emir, I will quietly resign because the matter is bigger than what we are talking about.” The emir noted that several laws are in the books to fight drug abuse but lamented that they are not being implemented. He said: “If we are not implementing these laws in the books, what assurance do we have that new ones will be implemented? “The trade in illicit drugs is a protective trade, and we must ask, who are those involved in this? How many rehabilitation centres do we have? How well equipped are they ready for the challenges; how many capacity development centres do we have? I think we must answer these questions for us to make headway. ‘’Like I always say, if you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t invite me. Our major problem is that we are not implementing the laws we have for regulating drugs. ‘’We have guidelines on who is allowed to sell drugs and who to sell the drugs to, but we are not following these guidelines.” Senate to tackle menace — Saraki In his remarks at the roundtable, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Senate is pushing for laws that will tackle the menace of drug abuse in the country because of its concern for the future of younger generations of Nigerians. Saraki, who noted that the National Assembly decided to take decisive actions against drug abuse in Nigeria through the roundtable, as part of moves to finally tackle the menace, said: “If we continue to be a society that ignores laws and do as we wish, we are not far from being a failed state. “But in the Senate, we are firm in ensuring that what is right is done to protect the nation. We want to see here before we finish the two-day roundtable in Kano that some pharmacies are closed down for violating the rules. Then we will know we are serious about it.” According to him, the main purpose of the roundtable is to send a message that there was hope in actualising a drug-free society. “There is no sense in calling agencies to fight drugs when we are not funding them. It doesn’t make sense. We must make a commitment that we are ready to do away with these problems. We should not be discouraged in the fight, as political leaders, we must have political will in the fight.” N4.1bn drugs burnt in Kano Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, said drugs worth N4.1 billion had been confiscated and burnt in the state, while another seizure worth N1 billion had been made and the suspects arrested. Professor Abubakar said: “As you know, Kano has the largest share of all the challenges, considering our population and commercial base, but we have just one rehabilitation centre. “The government set up task force to track the drug abusers and arrests were made. Drugs worth N4.1 billion have already been destroyed, but I can tell you, this has little or no significant effect from what is on ground. So, we need federal government’s support.” It’s a good consideration — Afenifere Throwing its weight behind the Emir, the pan-Yoruba socio political organisation said it was a good consideration. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “It is a good consideration because most of the actions that our public office holders exhibit at times, we wonder if they are not under influence. I think it will be good for them to take such drug test and ensure that drug is not one of the things we would not be dealing with in those who are ruling us.” There’s logic to his concerns – Osuntokun On his part, Mr Akin Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said: “Well I don’t know whether the Emir has any specific reference in mind but given the ways and manners of a number of characters in public office there’s logic to his concerns. For instance it is next to impossible to fathom a reason to what is happening in Imo state. I’m almost certain that the governor is not a drug addict but there’s something unhinged about recent developments in that state. Look also at Donald Trump and his sparring partner in North Korea. The leading American psychiatric association has actually come out with a publication on the subject of the mental stability of President Trump.” Recall Vanguard report yesterday, in which the Senate had raised alarm three months ago on the floor of the Senate that the 19 Northern states of the federation are under serious threat due to drug abuse, stating that over three million bottles of codeine syrup are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa states. It disclosed that across the 19 states, women, young girls in tertiary institutions, working class ladies, including married and unemployed women displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, among others, were involved in drug abuse, and that in 2015 alone, over 2,205 people were arrested in North-West geo-political zone by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, over drug-related abuses. Consequently, the Senate mandated its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing misuse of cough and other prescriptive drugs abuse and report back to the Senate on the needed legislative interventions to combat the trend. The senators stressed that secondary school students consume cough syrups regularly.