The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has declared its readiness to work with Re-Orientation Advocacy of Nigeria (RAN) and other stakeholders to strengthen prevention programmes on drug abuse and treatment.
The ministry said the partnership would specifically target people with drug use disorders.
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, made this known at a partnership meeting with RAN, on Thursday in Abuja.
Pate, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Kachollom Daju, expressed the readiness of the Ministry to play a major role in addressing the issue of drug abuse.
This, the minister said, would be targeted among the youth, women and adolescents in the country, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
He said concerns had been raised from many quarters about the rise in drug and substance abuse among youth and women in the northern and southern parts of Nigeria.
He said that RAN’s involvement on the issue was timely and sacrosanct.
Pate, who commended the efforts of relevant government and non-governmental organisations working on addressing the issues, maintained that all hands must be on deck to bring the situation under control.
Mr Charles Folayan, RAN Executive Director, commended the ministry for its support to stakeholders’ engagement on drug prevention, treatment, and care held in December 2023.
Folayan equally commended the ministry for its representation in the Joint Task Team constituted at the programme.
He said drug and substance abuse has taken youth and women to armed robbery, vandalism, sexual assault, insurgency, banditry, domestic abuse and violence, HIV and AIDS, and accidents, among others.
He said their deepest concern was that no country could make any significant progress or development with over 40 per cent of its young population, including women, engaged in drug abuse.
This, according to him, was twice the global average of 5.3 per cent.
He said that the RAN partnership with various stakeholders was to forge a common purpose and allow an easy flow of work in line with each organisation’s mandate and in conformity.
This, according to him, was on the heels of the strategic objectives of the National Drug Control Master Plan 2021–2025 and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that also at the meeting was the President and Founder of the Annmom Foundation of the United States of America, Princess Ann Ehigiator. (Guardian)