The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Sunday expressed concern over its inability to build a rehabilitation centre for victims of drug abuse since its 23 years of operations. ?
Mr Michelle Ofoyeju, the agency's spokesman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, that arresting persons smoking hemp on the streets was not a solution without rehabilitation centres.
“We need a world class rehabilitation centre that will take about 300 victims where we will train them in skill acquisition, at least for six months,” said Ofoyeju.
“You know we cannot charge them to court, they are not criminals, they are sick persons,” the spokesman said.
He stated that though the agency carried out raids periodically in black sports such as motor parks, under bridges and estates, most of the smokers were jobless and needed to be rehabilitated.?
The spokesman, however, noted that the beautification of under bridges by the Lagos State Government and dispersing of hoodlums who turned such places to their smoking centres, had greatly reduced the menace.
Ofoyeju said that fighting drug abuse should not be NDLEA's job alone, adding that there was need for stakeholders, especially governmental institutions and religious bodies, to cooperate with the organisation to fight the menace.
“The NDLEA is playing its role, other stakeholders such as churches, mosques, schools, parents, National Orientation Agency and National Directorate of Employment need to do more in attitudinal change among the youth,” he said.