The Director-General, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), Mr Chris Ngwodo, has urged stakeholders to collaborate in addressing challenges of substance abuse before it becomes a full-blown crisis.
Ngwodo made this call during a roundtable policy dialogue and technical workshop organised by OSPRE in collaboration with At-Risk-Children’s Project (Arc-P), Police Reform and Transformation Office (PORTO) and Milestones Foundation.
The workshop’s theme was: “The Breaking Bad Summit: Hybrid Strategies for the Multi-Dimensional Challenges of Substance Abuse in Nigeria”.
“Substance abuse is a clear and present danger to the well-being, development and peace of this country.
“It has a corollary impact on crime, violence, insecurity and conflict.
“We are all aware of individuals or communities dealing with this challenge,” Ngwodo said.
He stated that the purpose of the event was to forge a coalition of key actors to advance collective strategies for tackling substance abuse in the country.
The Lead presenter, Dr Jude Oboh, briefed on the transnational dimensions of the substance abuse challenge, highlighting the activities of organised crime rings dealing in the international drugs trade.
A Senior Project Officer of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Dr Akanidomo Ibanga, in his presentation, highlighted the need for more substance abuse treatment centres to cater for the huge demand.
The Executive Director of the Milestones Foundation, Dr William Ebiti, commended the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for its impressive successes in securing the convictions of drug traffickers.
He said there was need for stakeholders to deepen their collaboration, especially in the sharing of information.
The stakeholders present also resolved to share data on their activities in the areas of drug demand and supply reduction, enjoining OSPRE to serve as a hub to facilitate this exchange.
OSPRE also known as the National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanisms, was established in June 2022 with the signing of Executive Order 12 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was created in pursuant to Article 58 of the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Also, it was formed on the basis of Article 16 of the 1999 Protocol on the Mechanism relating to conflict prevention, management, resolution, peacekeeping and security.
The centre is mandated to address threats to human security and to build the preparedness and resilience of institutions and communities.