Home Health ECOWAS Parliament Calls for Stronger Local Laws On Drug Trafficking, Abuse

ECOWAS Parliament Calls for Stronger Local Laws On Drug Trafficking, Abuse

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The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS sitting in Abuja, has recommended the strengthening of local laws regarding drug abuse and trafficking in Africa.

The Nigerian Delegate to the Parliament Hon. Onyeka Nweboyi who gave the recommendation during the ongoing first ordinary session of the Sixth Legislature in Abuja, expressed concern over Nigeria being used as a dumping ground for harmful drugs and substances, which he noted were having harmful effects and killing Nigerian youth everyday.

“This issue does not affect the youths of Africa alone. Local laws regarding drugs is very weak. The western world bring in these drugs to pollute our youth and its killing and destroying them,” Onyeka said.

He called for stiffer measures and punishment such as death penalty for drug traffickers in Africa, to curb the trend.

“We need to come up with stiffer measures, punishment like death penalty which will make those engaging in the business to have a change of heart. Propose and implement death penalty for those trading in the drugs, to curb its effect in Africa”.

Throwing his weight behind the submission of Onyeka, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Barau Jibrin urged governments at all levels to do more in securing the boarders against infiltration, adding that there should be increased oversight functions to check import of drugs through the boarder.

In her Contribution, Hon. Idayat Adebule stressed the need for ECOWAS to go further than organising advocacy campaigns to curb drug abuse in the affected African countries.

She called for more efforts in collaboration with international or development partners to curb the menace in the region.

“The issue of drugs what do we do to stop it, we advocate to curb drug abuse. How do we ensure we go further than advocacy when it comes to drug abuse in the affected countries,?.

“Canvassing about it is not enough, in what way can UNODC assist the affected countries combat this challenge?”, she said.

Another delegate, Abiante Awaji-Inombek who also expressed concern over drug use and abuse, asked if the issue of drug should be treated as a crime or as ill health.

He appealed to all Africans to see the issue as what personally affects every country, urging each them to treat it as a disaster that involves all.

In his response, the National Programme Officer- Liaison, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime(UNODC), Nigeria Country Office, Baranaye Marcus, who had earlier gave the Parliamentarians a presentation on the activities of the organisation, assured that as partners who are also working to curb drug abuse among African youths, the UNOÐC will continue to implement programs designed to promote light skills for West Africa youths, to impact and teach them how to respond in different situations.

According to Marcus who admitted to the need to go beyond advocacy in combating drug abuse, the vocational trainings for youth engagement would keep them away from peer influence and create indirect jobs for the community.

He said the UNODC in collaboration with UNICEF and other sister agencies implement programs in the area of intervention on maritime crime and maritime law enforcement.

Citing boarder porosity as one of the major challenges to drug control in the ECOWAS region, Marcus said “We do invest a lot of efforts and resources. Our main task is to provide capacity building to security agencies and provide regional integration”..

However in considering laws for stiffer penalties for offenders, the UNOÐC representative advised the Parliament to consider the highest level of prevalence in differentiating between drug traffickers who he noted may be considered as criminals and drug abusers who are in need of rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

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