Seek The High of Good Health – Not the High From Drugs

By Mazi Odera

Remarks By Hon. Oseloka Henry Obaze
Secretary to the Anambra State Government
During the 26th UN Day Against Illicit Drugs Abuse and Trafficking

Women's Development Centre, Awka
26th June 2013
It is an honour and pleasure to be here to represents HE Gov. Peter Obi who is away on State business. He sends his felicitations and warmest greetings.

We are gathered today to celebrate the 26 UN Day against illicit drugs abuse and trafficking. This is a universally celebrated event, a fact that underlines its global importance.

Illicit Drugs spell one word -- capital TROUBLE. This is to say that wherever there are illicit drugs we can expect trouble. And that is already the case in Nigeria and indeed in Anambra.

The challenges posed by illicit drugs are complex and multifaceted. This is so because drugs are linked first and foremost to huge sums of money and therefore will always be connected to other criminal acts, be they conventional or organized.

If we allow drugs into our schools, streets or homes we invite trouble. And Igbo adage says that he who fetches faggot-infested firewood invites lizards into his homestead.

Similarly, with drugs we can expect corruption, money laundering, terrorism, kidnapping, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, gun running, cultism and other social vices to follow. What this does is to unsettle our society and make our communities unsafe.

Ironically, Nigeria is not a hard drug producing country, which is to say we are not a "source country". But we are a "transit country" because of unawareness, laxity in law enforcement and because some see drug trafficking simply as business. This should not be.

The reality however is that the use and abuse of illicit drugs in Nigeria is growing. We are at risk. Those who inject drugs pose the problem of spreading HIV/AIDS and that is worrisome.

Those who now use their homes in their villages as drug manufacturing laboratories expose their families and villages to grave toxic danger.

We need to combine our combatting of drug abuse through education and public awareness, use and demand reduction strategies as well as law enforcement.

The ANSG has been proactive in its support of the NDLEA and its mandate here. In so doing we are addressing the issue of inadequate funding.

Here in Anambra We are also looking at how to infuse drug prevention into our education programmes. Finally, we are supporting NDLEA's effort to collaborate with CSO and NGOs that are willing to offer counseling for drug dependent persons.

If however, there is a single significance of this day, it is that doing drugs will not pay in the long run. Those who value their health and lives must therefore stay away from illicit drugs.

Today, let us opt for the high that comes from good health over the high induced by illicit drug abuse.

Thank you all and God Bless.