| Femi Ajayi |
DRUG Abuse is everyone’s headache. Hard drugs trafficking is everyone’s nightmare. The many problems and collateral damages associated with the abuse and trafficking of hard drugs are not restricted to deviants or those who operate on the fringes of society as we often pretend. Therefore, drug abuse and trafficking should be your concern as much as mine.
True, you are neither a drug courier nor a drug baron. You do not abuse, misuse or even use any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Perhaps, you are a tee-to-teller; you don’t even drink anything alcholic or use any tobacco. Yet, drug abuse and trafficking are still your problem!
Yes, though you are not a drug abuser, the next innocent girl that gets raped by a drug-high hippie may be your daughter, sister or niece! You may not be a junkie but the next person that gets run down by a drug-stoned driver or murdered by a drugged criminal could be you or your son.
Remember the terrorist-bombing of the United Nations Plaza in Abuja, that multi-billion dollar architectural edifice, which led to the death of scores of peoples and the maiming of many more, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, was done by someone who was most probably under the influence of one narcotic drug or psycho-tropic substance or the other.
So, you are not a drug dealer; you cannot even identify either cannabis sativa (hemp), coca plant, cocaine, heroine or amphetamine. Yet the pilot of the next aircraft you are boarding to United Kingdom may be a narcotic drug dependant (so-called drug addict) who is high on cocaine or amphetamine or otherwise suffering from withdrawal symptons because he is yet to have his daily dose (fix) of heroine! Yeah, the driver of the luxury bus your precious daughter is boarding to her high-brow boarding school may be drug-dazed. That is: you or a cherished member of your family could be a victim of drug-related accident though you neither use or carry hard drugs!
In addition, drug money (the dirty proceeds of drug trafficking) could enter into the financial system through laundering by couriers and barons and cause serious distortions to the national economy. There is no denying or down playing the corrosive, corruptive and destructive effect of dirty drug money on good governance. Drug barons can infiltrate and vitiate the routine operations of government. Drug money can be used to corrupt law enforcement agencies, compromise top government officials, sponsor political instability or even topple democratic regimes. In the extreme case of drug barons becoming economically powerful and politically influential enough to take over the levers of political governance, drug dealers could run a government of drug barons in the interest of drug barons as had happened in the past in some major drug-producing countries.
Coming nearer home, the availability of drugs in Nigeria (whether we are merely a drug transit country or also a drug (hemp) producing and consuming nation) means that our society can easily be overrun by hard drugs. Our children and adolescents can become helpless and hapless victims of health hazards and social consequences of hard drugs. Your little boy or innocent daughter could be lured into sniffing heroine or smoking cocaine (crack) with all the severe implications: drug dependence, insanity or misery or graduate into criminal activities in order to keep up with expensive life of hard drug consumption.
Drugs could ruin your family life and irreparably pollute your society causing loss of values, moral upheavals and social disintegration. Drug abuse and trafficking certainly raise the violence level in any society. The huge profits from drug sales facilitate the proliferation of illegal weapons in private hands. It is also difficult to exonerate the use of hard drugs from the hair-rising violence and crimes associated with the militancy and enronmental rights activism in the Niger Delta. In the same vein, there is likely to be a connection between narcotics abuse and the mind-boggling and horrendous human massacres that accompany religious riots (a la Boko Haram) and ethno-religious conflicts in Jos and other parts of the country.
The harms associated with illicit drugs are very grevious and almost limitless. The increasing incidence of street children, adult delinquents, cultism in schools, religious riots, violent militancy in communities and political thuggery cannot be divorced from the deleterious effects of mind-altering drugs on the psyche and health of human beings.
The illicit use of drugs is one of the major factors spreading the life-wasting AIDS epidemic. Research has shown that opium dependence and the associated sharing of drug injection equipment is a principal factor fuelling the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
From all indications, drug-related crimes, drug-facilitated violence, drug-fueled accidents and drug-induced health hazards affect men, women, adult and children irrespective of religion, creed, economic class or social status.
Drug abuse and trafficking are not the concern of law enforcement agencies alone; they are a major challenge to the mass media and non-governmental organisations who must collaborate to use communication along with legislation as a weapon for the war against hard drugs. This implies that drug abuse and trafficking are our collective concerns and challenges. Drug control is therefore our collective task. In the light of the above, should you still sit idly and do nothing while Nigeria’s narco-drug problems assume epidemic dimensions? Think about it.
Femi Ajayi is the Director-General of NDLEA.
— Sep. 2, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT