By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The wave of banditry and other acts of criminalities including organized armed assaults on innocent persons are results of drug addiction and bad drug use by mostly wayward youths, governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state has said.
Governor Sani Bello attributed the spiral increase in crime across the country to increase in drug and other psychotropic substances addiction.
He expressed grave concern over increasing cases of drug addiction and use of psychotropic substances especially by young persons across the country and said the first step to check and control insecurity was to control sales and use of illegal drugs and substances.
He spoke at the commissioning of the refurbished Minna Social Rehabilitation Centre, a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts and deranged persons. The facility was built in 1995 and has for long suffered neglect by successive administrations in the state.
The governor lamented over the rate of drug abuse in the state especially in the state capital, Minna.”We are deeply concerned about the rate of drug abuse because it has increased the rate of insecurity in Minna” he said.
He stressed that the fastest way to checkmate insecurity was to first stem illicit drug sales and consumption by persons who were being misled or carried away by bad influences and disgruntled elements.
The governor disclosed that as a first step, the state government has constituted a committee to check sales and consumption of illicit drugs in the state.
He charged the management of the facility to ensure proper care and maintenance of the remodeled rehabilitation facility.
Chairperson, Nineteen Northern Governors’ Wives and wife of Niger state governor, Dr. Amin’s Abubakar Bello said at the occasion that the facility has been in dilapidated state for several years and was no longer fit for treatment and support for patients hence its remodeling.
She expressed worry over high rate of illicit drug prevalence in the state especially amongst women and noted that the trend was dangerous to family and societal development.
The wife of Niger state governor disclosed that the 2018 United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, (UNODC) statistics shows that the prevalence in illicit drug use in Nigeria was 14.4% with a high prevalence incidence in North Central states region including Niger state which has 10% rate.
She lamented that available statistics in the state shows a disturbing rate of one out of every four cases of drug addiction to be women of between the age of 25 to 39 years who are deep into hard drug use. This age bracket is a high productive stage in life which makes the statistics of the involvement of women quite alarming she said.
The Minna Social Rehabilitation Centre has treated 4,232 patients