Akwa Ibom State House Assembly has directed the relevant departments to begin a complete crackdown against those involved in drug abuse.
The House mandated the Ministries of Education, Information, Health; State Secondary Education Board (SSEB) and the Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM) to immediately sensitise the public, particularly primary and secondary schools, on the dangers of drug abuse.
On Wednesday, a resolution titled “Need To Urgently Arrest The Menace Of Substance Abuse Amongst Youth And Students In Akwa Ibom State” was brought to the notice of the House by Barr Aniefiok Dennis Akpan, Member representing Etinan State Constituency.
He said that substance abuse, drug abuse or over-indulgence in, and dependence on drugs; is the use of certain chemicals for the purpose of creating pleasurable effects on the brain.
Barr Akpan listed the substances that are commonly abused in the state and country to include cannabis, cocaine, codeine and psychotropic substances such as amphetamine, heroin, diazepam, rohypnol, opioid and tramadol.
According to him, the channels through which these illicit activities change hands are the pharmacies/patent medicine shops, open drug markets, drug hawkers, fellow drug abusers, drug farms and drug pushers.
He said: “According to reliable report, 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis followed by tramadol and opioid with 4.6 million, making these substances the most patronised in Nigeria, and most shocking, one in every five users of these substances are women, making Nigeria rumoured as the ‘Cannabis and Tramadol Capital of the World’.
“Another psychiatric report says that the effect of these substances is adverse, and include some of the deep-seated psychological and substance-induced disorders such as; delirium, dementia, amnestic disorder, psychotic disorder, anxiety disorder, sexual dysfunction, among others.”
The Etinan Born Lawmaker noted that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which was established under promulgation of Decree 48 (1989), now an Act of Parliament, for the purposes of exterminating illicit drug trafficking and consumptions in the Nigerian society, does not have the requisite manpower to contend illicit drugs activities, considering their diminutive presence in villages and local governments within the country.
He expressed concern over the incessant patronage of hard drugs by undergraduates and students in both secondary and primary schools.
“These younglings have resorted to these illicit substances as a booster for their egos and self confidence in their attempts to molest, rape, and carry arms against their teachers, parents/caregivers, peers, colleagues, breach constituted orders and cause rifts and unnecessary chaos within the state. A case on notice is the constant and frequent fall-out between Uyo High, Uyo; Technical School, Ewet Offot, Uyo and the surrounding schools within Uyo metropolis,” he said.
Dennis Akpan further expressed worry over the rising cases of militancy, banditry, cultism, kidnapping and rape, all attributed to the influence of substance abuse. He noted that these vices have thrived for a long time unabated despite commitments by both the state and federal government.
Rising in support of the motion, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, member representing Nsit Atai State Constituency, frowned at the menace in which substance abuse has caused the youths and students to indulge in vices inimical to societal norms while calling on the parents to be involved in the forefront of this war against illicit drug abuse.
Granting the prayers of Barr. Dennis Akpan, the Honourable Speaker Aniekan Bassey in his resolution urged the NDLEA, the Police and other security agencies in Akwa Ibom State to as a matter of urgent importance, strengthen their mechanism towards the discovery and closure of illicit drugs outlets within the State.
–With Nsisong Etukudo