President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly is focused on strengthening regulatory mechanisms to ensure that our values as Nigerians do not suffer degeneration as a result of drug abuse. Lawan made this known in a keynote address delivered to declare open a Public Hearing on the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency Act 2004.
The Senate President who was represented at the event by the Chairman, Committee on Health, Senator Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), said the issue of drug abuse in the country “has become a hazard” too difficult to ignore. Lawan said: “Equally important is that drug abuse has become a hazard. While we may often identify abuse with the youths, emerging evidence reveals that it cuts across all social strata.
“What this means is that more and more people are resorting to dangerous mechanisms for escape. The consequence of this is multiple, as has been proved. “We (National Assembly) have severally demonstrated that we cannot allow the degeneration of our values, through drugs, and other substances, considering our concerted quest for growth. “The Bill before us is yet another attempt at strengthening the regulatory mechanism on drug abuse, following loopholes in the extant law. “It also flows from the regular trend of reviewing or updating laws, after operational experiences, as a step towards perfection.
“The Senate and the National Assembly will always ensure improvements in extant laws. in line with our disposition to grow our democracy, by solidifying existing acts.”
Also speaking at the hearing, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hezekiah Dimka said the repeal and re-enactment of the NDLEA Act 2004 became imperative in view of the severe threat posed by drug abuse and trafficking on security in the country. “One of the actual threat to the nation and human security is the alarming rate of illicit drug trafficking.
“Drug abuse, trafficking and crime are inter-related and have negatively impacted so much in our nation through crime and insecurity. “Nigeria as a country has suffered so many loss of lives, properties and dignity due to the involvement of well meaning Nigerians abusing and trafficking in drugs.”
According to the lawmaker, drug abuse and trafficking continue to served as catalyst to violence, insurgency (Boko haram, Banditry and many communal conflicts in the country. Dimka, therefore, noted that NDLEA Act 2004 was long overdue for amendment, stressing that, “the Agency has with experience, learnt some lessons in the course of Operating and enforcing the Act.”