The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, issued a warning to students about the dangers of using hard drugs.
He sounded the warning during one-day sensitization campaign on Drug Abuse for Secondary School Students in Lagos, organized by the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) to commemorate the 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The PPRO emphasized that engaging in such activities could result in a 15-year jail term upon conviction by the court. The theme of the event was “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strength Prevention.”
“The legal consequences of drug abuse in Nigeria according to National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency Act provides punishment or a sentence of 15 years but not exceeding 25 years while trafficking drugs is punishable by life imprisonment.
When a minor or teenager commits a grievous offences, he or she will be considered a juvenile offender which are those who commit or are apprehended to have committed any act that would be a crime if they were not underage and they can be jailed in the juvenile prison”, Hundeyin stated.
He emphasized the profound impact of drug abuse on security in Nigeria, highlighting its pervasive nature that permeates all levels of society. He emphasized that individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses are affected by this issue, stressing that it extends beyond the individual and has far-reaching consequences for families, communities, and the overall security of the nation.
ASP Omoyayi Zaina Atinuke, the representative of police spokesperson, echoed this sentiment, expressing deep concern over the prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria.
Hundeyin pointed to studies and statistics that reveal a disturbing trend, with a significant number of young people falling victim to the allure of illicit substances. Rophynol, cannabis, codeine, and tramadol, known by their street names such as Ice, colos, downer, molly, special K, Acid, coke, school boy, angel dust, and upper speed, were identified as some of the substances enticing the youth.
Furthermore, the police image maker emphasized that drug abuse knows no boundaries, affecting not only urban centers but also rural areas and even the most remote regions of the country. Hundeyin highlighted that the syndicates involved in drug trafficking operate across borders, exploiting system vulnerabilities to facilitate the influx of illicit substances into Nigeria.
Hundeyin firmly stated that the Nigeria Police cannot ignore the growing menace of drug abuse. The safety and security of the nation are of utmost importance, and the police are committed to ensuring it. Recognizing the undeniable link between drug abuse and security.
Hundeyin stressed that drug abuse directly contributes to increased crime rates, posing a significant threat to the well-being and safety of communities.
Further he said, “Drug-related offenses and criminal activities such as robbery, theft, and violence are often fuelled by the need to sustain drug habits or by the influence of substances impairing judgment and rational thinking thereby jeopardizing the safety of our communities.
“It also leads to the spread of gang activities, because the distribution of these drugs are associated with organised criminal gangs, these gangs create a climate of fear and intimidation within communities as they compete for control over drug markets leading to violent turf wars.
“Furthermore, drug trafficking, which thrives on the demand created by drug abuse, poses a direct threat to national security. Criminal networks involved in the trafficking of drugs not only perpetuate violence and corruption but also undermine the rule of law.
In his address, President of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), Mr. Olalekan Olabulo Muyiwa lamented indulgence of illicit drugs in the country despite government proactive fight against the menace.
He noted that consequences of drug abuse result in banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder among others.
“It is worrisome that despite the war, declared by the government and its agencies on drug abuse, the rate of indulging in these illicit substances has continued to grow higher and higher, every new day.
“It is even surprising that students in secondary schools and even primary schools have become the targets of unscrupulous drug peddlers, who take these drugs to their schools.
“Names of prohibited substances like: colorado, codeine, indian hemp, skunk, tramadol rophynol, strong, loud and other dangerous drugs have found their way into our schools and portend great danger to the future of our nation.
“Another noticeable abuse of drugs among our youths now is the excessive use of overdose of cough syrup, especially those that contain codeine.
“The consequences of drug abuse in our country have been: increase in banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, and others forms of crime as well as unprecedented rise in broken homes and mental disorderliness.
“There is a strong need for the government and the relevant agencies to dedicate more time, energy and resources to the advocacy and enlightenment on drug abuse and illicit trafficking,” Olalekan noted.