Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mohammed Marwa has opposed demands for the legalisation of cannabis in Nigeria.
Marwa, who stated this yesterday in response to earlier calls by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State for legalisation for cultivation of cannabis sativa in the country, said the nation could not afford to mortgage the lives of the citizens for financial gains by legalising cannabis.
While addressing journalists in Abuja, the nation’s capital ahead of the 2021 World Drug Day, Marwa said the governor’s call was not acceptable to the NDLEA, adding that the agency would continue to burn down marijuana farms and prosecute whoever was caught doing the business.
He, therefore, said such calls by the Ondo State governor and some legislators must be resisted at all cost.
He also reiterated his suggestion to have politicians subjected to drug test before being allowed to contest for elective positions.
According to him, this has become necessary to ensure that only sane persons are allowed to lead the country in whatever capacity.
‘’Students and intending couples should also be subjected to drug tests,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, Oliver Stolpe, said there were at least three million Nigerians struggling with drug-abuse-related habits.
He said recent research by UNODC had shown a steady rise in abuse of drugs, noting that cannabis remained the most abused substance in Nigeria.
He explained that most of those engaged in the use of illicit substances in Nigeria fall within the age bracket of 25-35 years of age.
A Case Of Archaic Sentiment?
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had constantly supported calls for legalisation of Cannabis Sativa, urging the Federal Government to jettison traditional orientation and “archaic” sentiment that states that cannabis is a ‘devil’s plant’.
The governor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, believes the medical and economic merits of the use of cannabis outweighed its demerits and advocated that the federal government needed to give legal backing to cannabis to enable its use in Nigeria.
“Cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian economy if judiciously utilised,” the governor had said.