Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), has recommended integrity drug tests as a requirement for all politicians seeking public office and public office holders.
Marwa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the idea behind the call for the test “is to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse” in the country.
He recommended the same integrity test for students seeking admission into higher institutions and those returning from vacation as well as intending couples.
The NDLEA chief said conducting drug tests on intending couples would help detect the problem at an early stage, just as the agency had consistently advocated..
“We need to think out of the box with the situation we face, to reduce the use of drugs, especially by our youth, who are the bulk users of drugs.
“For instance, we feel that tertiary institutions need to do drug tests for their students before they start school or when they are returning from holidays. If they test positive, it will affect their progress in school. The test will help us know those that need help early enough before it gets worse.
“It is the same line of thinking, that in Nigeria, like anywhere else in the world, once a youth, after completing school and getting a job, the next thing is marriage.
“Since in Nigeria we go for genotype test, we do HIV test before marriage, voluntarily, why can’t we add drug test in the list, so that it will further propel reduction in the prevalence?
“Anybody that is positive will cut back because his or her intended wife, husband or in-laws may not be comfortable.
“We believe from cutting back, he or she will stop the habit or the prospective in- laws will rally round to help,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Marwa disclosed that the NDLEA has seized not less than two million kilogrammes of cocaine, heroin, other hard drugs and substances in the past nine months.
He made the disclosure in New York while addressing the Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Committee of the UN General Assembly, adding that there is no longer “hiding place for drug traffickers” in Nigeria.
Marwa said Nigeria had achieved a lot in the war against drug abuse as NDLEA had moved towards the seizure of assets of persons involved and prosecuting them within the limit of human rights.
He said every kilogramme seized was one kilogramme less on the streets, pointing out that drug abuse in Nigeria had been one of the most worrisome problems in recent times.
He said drug abuse is the key factor that propels crime in Nigeria, adding that the administration of President Muhammad Buhari is tackling the problem.
He said the NDLEA had been partnering relevant agencies in its fight against drug abuse, urging parents to rise up to the challenge of sensitising their children against the danger of drug abuse.