President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday appointed his wife, Aisha, and the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, to serve on the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse in the country.
The committee is chaired by a former Military Administrator of Lagos state, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.)
Giving his reason for appointing his wife and Dolapo, the President said both women had demonstrated commitment to eradicating drug abuse in the country.
He explained, “The appointment of the wives of the President and the Vice-President, as well as the chairpersons of the North and South Governors’ Wives Forums as members of this committee, is in recognition of their concerted efforts to the course of eradicating the menace of drug abuse from our society.
“Additionally, the participation of the first ladies is meant to spur further involvement of women and mothers in particular, in view of the significant role they play in parenting and care.
“It is therefore expected that governors’ wives across the federation will take the lead in replicating this intervention structure at the states and local government levels.’’
A Ministerial Steering Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, was also inaugurated on Monday by the President.
Speaking while inaugurating both committees at the Presidential Villa, Buhari acknowledged that drug abuse had grown to become a major public health problem in the country, requiring very urgent attention.
He noted that from being a transit nation five years ago, Nigeria had effectively become a user country today.
On the abuse of Codeine syrup, for example, he cited the alarming reports on abuses in states like Kano where up to 3million bottles were consumed every 24 hours.
He spoke more, “This is a situation of emergency and we must face and address it as such…
“Drug and alcohol abuse are also major occupational hazards among Nigerian workers, professionals, notably drivers, which contribute to making Nigerian roads particularly dangerous.
“The drugs that are commonly abused include but not limited to alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, Tramadol, codeine, etc.
“Today marks the beginning of another milestone in correcting the root cause of some of the ills of today’s society in order to safeguard our common existence and guarantee a brighter future for our current generation and those yet on born.
“The role is specifically targeted at decimating the disastrous havoc that drug abuse could cause on the very fabric of our society.’’
In his response, the SGF said drug abuse had become a national threat that all hands must be on the deck to combat immediately.