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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has linked the growing insecurity in Nigeria to the increasing rate of hard drug consumption and abuse.
He, therefore, hailed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for its efforts in tackling the menace.
Gbajabiamila also hailed the NDLEA, which on Monday busted a major warehouse where 1.8tons of illicit drugs worth over $278, 250,000, an equivalent of about N194,775,000,000 in street value, were seized in a secluded estate in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
In his remarks at the opening of plenary on Tuesday after the National Assembly returned from its two-month annual break, the Speaker also commended the security agencies for checking crimes and criminals in the country.
He said, “While insecurity continues to be a scourge across the land, we have recently recorded significant victories against the purveyors of violence and conflict across the country. In the North-East, North-West, and North-Central, men and women of our nation’s armed forces have neutralised scores of bandits and insurgents, taken out the heads of different cells, destroyed training camps, and significantly disrupted their ability to organise against the peace and security of the Nigerian people.
“I salute the courage and gallantry of our fighting men and women. I assure them that this House will continue to do all we can to support them and honour their sacrifice.”
Gbajabiamila added, “Beyond the activities of bandits and insurgents, other manifestations of violent crime continue to adversely affect the quality of life of our citizens. Many factors contribute to insecurity in our country, one of which is the explosive growth in the trade and consumption of narcotics.
“Available evidence suggests that the narcotics business has also been crucial to sustaining the internal security crises in the North-East, North-West and South-East. I dare to say that there is no constituency in the country that isn’t currently experiencing a surge in drug use and associated crime, the most recent was the discovery in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
“The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has significantly increased interdiction efforts across the country and at all ports of entry. These efforts have resulted in record-breaking seizures of banned substances at the ports and inner cities. I commend these efforts and urge the Agency to continue doing this vital work.
“We cannot afford to have our country overrun by the cancer of the drug trade and the devastation it brings. Therefore, all of us, both in our official and personal capacities, must become soldiers in the war on drugs.”
The Speaker noted that the lawmakers would continue to support the work of law enforcement to identify and apprehend the promoters of the trade and block their trade routes.
He also said the parliament would consider policy interventions to ensure that the administration of justice recognises and reflects “the critical distinction between victims and the kingpins who profit from the misery of the drug trade.”
“But we must also ask ourselves what is causing so many young people to embrace the drug trade or become users themselves. How we answer that question will ultimately determine whether we will win this fight or be defeated by it,” Gbajabiamila stated.