The Gombe State Government and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have resolved to support each other in the fight against illicit drugs in the state.
This was part of the outcome of a meeting between the governor, Inuwa Yahaya, and the NDLEA chairman, Buba Marwa.
The governor on Tuesday paid a visit to the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja, where he advocated for synergy.
His visit coincides with the intensity of the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking embarked upon by the NDLEA recently.
The new NDLEA boss had, since his appointment, taken the fight against drug abuse and trafficking more seriously compared to his predecessors.
Several drug barons and pushers are being arrested almost on daily basis in various parts of the country.
During the visit, Mr Yahaya observed that there is a strong correlation between the use of illicit drugs and the probability to commit crime and criminality in any given society.
He noted that one of the ingredients fuelling crime and criminality, particularly the ongoing insurgency in the northeast, can be attributed to the use of illicit drugs which often distort the sanity of human psychology.
“In the last two years, I saw a lot of development with regards to these issues and being the governor, naturally all issues tend to end up on my table and we can put a good percentage of all these negative developments in our society to issues that have to do with drugs”.
Mr Yahaya said despite having a good presence in Gombe, there is the need for the state and the NDLEA to re-strategize and collaborate more in the fight against the use of illicit drugs, their peddlers, more so that the state sits at the centre of the North-east and easy access for all manner of people including the good and the bad.
“Gombe being at the centre is now a transit route for drugs and sometimes even weapons. I have made several trips to the Defence Headquarters where I met the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff and eventually ended up seeing the National Security Adviser and Mr President. I know when we have control over illicit drugs every other issue can be controlled as well.”
The governor said his visit to the NDLEA headquarters was to solicit more support from the agency so that together with the effort of the Gombe State Government, they could eradicate the use and trade of illicit drugs.
He commended the agency on its high profile arrests of drug dealers across the country and other successes achieved in the war against drug abuse.
Mr Marwa said the drug scourge is an unacceptable situation considering the damage it has done to the psyche of the country.
He said with 13.6 per cent prevalence the Northeast ranks fourth among the six geo-political zones of the country.
The NDLEA boss thanked Mr Yahaya for partnering with the agency at the state level to combat the use and trade of illicit drugs.
“I am in constant touch with our commander in Gombe and she has mentioned that His Excellency has been given us support and we really appreciate your efforts so far,” he said.
He equally thanked the governor for doing everything necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state despite being at the centre of the insurgency-stricken northeast.
“I must use this opportunity to commend you for the excellent work you are doing in Gombe, the infrastructure, agriculture and security; I don’t know if you have a military or paramilitary background somewhere but in the current climate in the North, Gombe is relatively peaceful.
“Here the leadership has a very important role to play and you have mentioned yourself how you have interacted with the President, the Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs.
“This is really the way to go in this matter so that all hands must be on deck; we wish you more peace and prosperity without which the developmental work will be very difficult at the state level,” he said.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had recently launched a campaign, War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), not just as a slogan, but a call for civil action for all Nigerians at all levels to take an active part in the war.