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NASS to tackle drugs abuse with laws’ amendment

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NASS to tackle drugs abuse with laws' amendment

Ovie Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to amend the extant laws against drug abuse for stringent punishment for offenders as well as serving as deterrent to those intending to commit the crime.
This is even as he called for an increase in the funding of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA in tackling drug abuse in the country.
Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja when he hosted two associations: the League for Societal Protection Against Drug and Sexual Abuse in Nigeria as well as the Youth and Poor Association of Nigeria, led by Ambassador Mariam Hassan.
The deputy senate president also emphasized the need for more awareness on the menace of drug abuse, the senator noted that aside government, parents, schools, religious centres, corporate and non-governmental organisations all have roles to play in addressing the situation.
He lauded the associations for bringing the issue to the front burner, even as he recalled that there have been several motions on the floor of the Senate dealing with drug abuse and inadequate rehabilitation centres across the country.
While agreeing that drug abuse remain a serious matter that required attention, he said the National Assembly was determined to address the menace.
“I can give you that commitment that we are going to amend that law to address the issues you have raised like stringent punishment for offenders to deter potential violators. We will make it so stringent that any violation could take them out of business,” he added.
While responding to a request from Ambassador Hassan to place the NDLEA on First Line Charge to ensure prompt and direct release of appropriated funds, Omo-Agege said this would be considered if it becomes difficult to ensure  early release of funds to the agency.
He was, however, upbeat that with the adoption of the January to December budget cycle by the Ninth Assembly, early release of funds to the agency will be guaranteed.
“Kano will get more rehabilitation centres because it appears to be the epicenter of this challenge. So, you have the backing of the National Assembly to address this concern. You can count on the National Assembly to do everything to bring this issue to the spotlight,” he said.
Earlier in her remarks, Ambassador Hassan lamented inadequate funding of the NDLEA and appealed that the agency to be placed on First Line Charge.
This, she noted, will ensure direct and early release of funds to enable the agency to be proactive in its drive to eradicate drug abuse in the society.
She expressed worry over the increasing rate of drug abuse among the youth which, according to her, is responsible for the upsurge in the rate of crime in the society.
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