Determined to check the use of illicit drugs in Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has directed the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to embark on mobilization of all the 33 Local Government Areas of the state against cannabis cultivation in rural communities.
Governor Ajimobi, who disclosed this while speaking at the public destruction of drug exhibits by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Ibadan on Thursday, also said that his administration would partner with the agency in providing a rehabilitation centre for the growing number of narcotic users in the society.
The governor said that the provision of the centre had become necessary, adding ``rehabilitation is also a form of prevention since it forestalls further infection of others in society with the ugly habit’’.
The ceremony, held at Akilapa Village on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan, witnessed the burning of 14,624.664 kg. of cannabis sativa, 69g of cocaine, 603.50g of heroin and 7.050kg of psychotropic substances.
The public destruction of the drugs, according to the governor, is to show to the world that government, and indeed the people, have unqualified hatred for the traffic in the illegal drugs.
``We are aware that the drug war has always been a major challenge, not only to Nigeria but across the globe. No nation, state or community is immune to the devastation and havoc wreaked by traffic in narcotics. That explains the need for every government to demonstrate intense concern over the state of drug-trafficking today,’’ he said.
The governor expressed his government’s commitment to the betterment of the lives of the people of the state, especially in the areas of health, security and their general well-being, stressing that this had necessitated government directly or indirectly preventing drug abuse and trafficking in its environs.
He also noted that his administration had always collaborated with and supported the state command of NDLEA in its operations, leading to the donation of one Toyota Hillux to assist it command in its operations.
``Oyo State has one of the most functional Drug Abuse Control committees in the federation and government empowers the committee to execute its mandate. In this regard, the last June 26th United Nations anti-drugs day was the most colourful of its kind ever held,” he stated.
Governor Ajimobi also said that the state Ministry of Education had been partnering with NDLEA to train teachers on infused drug abuse prevention education, adding that government had also provided funds for the Ministry of Information to collaborate with the agency in embarking on a grassroots sensitization campaign of the state.
He also attributed the increased carnage on the highways to the involvement of motorcycle operators and commercial vehicle drivers in drug abuse, and that something must also be done urgently to prevent drug abuse among youths of high school age in view of the danger it posed.
Governor Ajimobi commended the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade for his resolve to rid the country of illicit drugs and secure for the nation a clean slate among the comity of nations.
He called on all and sundry, especially parents and guardians, to rise to their responsibilities towards their children and wards, stressing that teachers should also bend over backwards in monitoring their students/pupils, and the churches/mosques their congregations.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of NDLEA, Alhaji Giade said that drug control was a share responsibility that must be embraced on everybody, thereby calling on royal fathers, teachers, opinion leaders, parents, corporate organizations and individuals to support the anti-drug campaign.
Alhaji Giade, who had earlier paid a courtesy visit on Governor Ajimobi, thanked him (governor) for the approval of the construction of the rehabilitation centre for drug addicts for the state command of his agency.
He said that the spirit of synergy among security organizations being promoted by the governor through joint operations had led to the dismantling of several drug cells in the state.
The Oyo State Commander of NDLEA, Mrs. Omolade Faboyede disclosed that within the last two months, her command had destroyed large acres of cannabis farm in Ona-Ara, Oluyole and Akinyele Local Government Areas of the state.