The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday said legalization of consumption of cannabis will take Nigeria back to it’s dark days.
Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), the Chairman and Chief Executive of the agency, said this at an interactive session with heads of security agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and heads of government agencies in Jos, Plateau as he rejected the calls for Cannabis legalization.
Some Nigerians have been advocating for the legalisation of the drug for health and economy purposes.
But Marwa said that legalising cannabis would truncate its ongoing fight against drug abuse, stressing that such a move would also take Nigeria back to its dark days.
He revealed that 10.6 Nigerians were currently consuming cannabis, adding that legalising it would further destroy the nation.
“NDLEA rejects absolutely the call for the legalisation of cannabis; it is a choice between earning money and the importance of life
“There is no research about the healing qualities of cannabis, but we all know on the other hand that it causes brain disorder, psychosis, it destroys the lungs and other key organs of the body.
” It definitely affects one’s behaviour as well.
“NDLEA will not accept that; we in NDLEA reject the move in totality,” he noted.
The NDLEA boss admonished security agencies and other stakeholders to support the agency in its bid to curb the tide of drug abuse in the nation.
2021 World AIDS Day: Nigeria battles disease after 35 years of first case
Since the first case of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, was detected in Lagos State in 1986, Nigeria and other countries of the world have continued to battle the disease which has remained a global heath challenge.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO, HIV, since its first case was recorded in Congo in the 1920s has claimed over 36.3 million lives across the world while about 37.7 million are still living with the disease as it continues to be a major global public health issue.
DAILY POST recalls that the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime, UNODC, had in 2019, ranked Nigeria as the third among countries with the highest burden of HIV infection in the world.
Over 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with the virus across the country. The UN agency has also revealed that HIV and AIDS are far more prevalent among those in prisons and high-risk drug users, particularly people who inject drugs (PWIDs).
A recent UNODC study on HIV prevalence in Nigerian prisons and on drug use in the country has revealed that 2.8% of inmates and 9% of people who inject drugs (PWIDs) are living with HIV/AIDS.
The WHO, in a statement on Monday called on African countries to put more efforts in reducing new infections, lamenting that the continent in 2020, recorded highest cases in the world.
The statement which was issued by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti to mark the 2021 World AIDS Day, revealed that the virus claims about 1,300 lives in Africa everyday.
The statement reads in part, “We cannot afford to lose focus on the urgent need to end the inequities that drive AIDS and other epidemics around the world. It has been 40 years since the first HIV cases were reported. Yet, in Africa and globally, it remains a major public health concern.
“Last year, two out of every three new HIV infections occurred in the African Region, corresponding to almost 2 500 new HIV infections every day. Sadly, AIDS claimed the lives of 460 000 people, or a shocking 1 300 every day, in spite of free access to effective treatment”.
DAILY POST recalls that the Director-General of National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu, had assured that the Federal Government of Nigeria is working assiduously and hopeful to ensure the end of HIV/AIDS transmission by 2024.
Speaking while declaring open a five-day Capacity Strengthening of Key and Vulnerable Populations in Access to HIV Services Efficiency in Sokoto a few months ago, Aliyu noted that Nigeria had recorded great successes and ranked among the five countries with minimum challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, “Nigeria is working toward ending the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the next three years, which is 2024, less than the targeted year of 2030 by the UN.”
COVID-19: Nigeria announces first case of Omicron variant
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant in the country.
A statement signed by the NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said the two cases were discovered through genomic sequencing.
Adetifa said the cases were detected in two passengers who came into the country from South Africa, adding the patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
”Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week.
“Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travelers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021”, he added.
Omicron: Nigerian govt to issue new travel protocol this Tuesday
The Federal Government has said it will release a new travel protocol on Tuesday, as a proactive measure to prevent the Omicron COVID-19 variant from entering Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Mukhtar Muhammad, during a media briefing on Monday.
The index case of Omicron was detected on November 23 in South Africa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”.
Muhammad noted that although no case of the variant has been detected in Nigeria, the PSC has taken “far-reaching proactive measures to minimise and mitigate this possibility.
“Consequently, the PSC will be issuing a travel guideline document tomorrow, but let me highlight the contents of this travel guideline.
“Passengers arriving in the country are required to do a PCR test 48 hours before departing. They will also do day two and day seven PCR tests on arrival and they will be required to self-isolate for seven days.
“Passengers that are outbound, going out of Nigeria, will be required to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure. These conditions apply to diplomats as well. The measures will come into effect by Friday, 3rd of December, 2021.
“The PSC will ensure that there is enforcement of passengers who arrive and refuse to take tests through suspension of their passports and prosecution, or both. Furthermore, we’ll be increasing our surveillance at the ports of entry into the country, intensifying testing and contact tracing, and optimizing sequencing capacity.”
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