The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PADECA), retired Brig- Gen. Buba Marwa has called for collaboration among security agencies at the port in order to curtail the importation of illicit drugs into the country.
Marwa, who is a former Military Governor of Lagos State, made the call on Thursday while interacting with heads of security agencies and stakeholders at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos.
He said the aim of the meeting was to avail the committee the opportunity to interface with stakeholders with a view to identifying and proffering solutions to the prevailing issues of drug and substance abuse in the country.
He said the committee, as part of its mandate, had visited luxury bus drivers’ union in Kano on the need to shun illicit drugs from drug peddlers and border towns from where most of the illicit drugs are usually transported.
According to him, “Drug abuse will only happen when there are drugs and therefore in blocking the supply of drugs, we have to come to the major point of entry for the importation, which is the port.
“We have also been at the airport in Lagos, Kano and the land borders through Nigeria and Niger. So the visit is to see how the security agencies including Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others will work together and know what challenges they are facing and see how we can support them towards curbing the importation and exportation of drugs.”
The retired Army General said the committee will also collaborate with clearing agents to identify unscrupulous importers who are into importation of harmful substance and illicit drugs into the country.
NAFDAC’s Director of Port Inspection, Prof. Samson Adebayo, while addressing the committee, said shared intelligence among stakeholders is necessary to check the influx of drugs and drug abuse in the country.
He decried the 100 percent manual examination of cargo at the port, which he said has resulted in the slow pace of cargo clearance.
The NAFDAC Director called on the Marwa committee to intervene on behalf of Customs to install electronic cargo scanners at the port.
According to him, “It is a shame we don’t have a single functional scanner at the port. You get to Benin Republic, they have just about five or seven scanners but they are defective.
“We are giant of Africa but giant in size, not ready for action and do the right thing. The committee should take it upon itself so that we will get functional scanners. This will help our work among sister agencies.”