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Cannabis Possession is Illegal, But We Do Not Criminalize Personal Use – NDLEA Boss, Marwa


According to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria cannot follow the example of other nations by legalizing cannabis growing and use because of the harm that would result.

Brig. Gen. Mohamad Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, made this statement on Friday while hosting a delegation from Media Trust management in his office. The mission was led by Mounir Gwarzo, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Media Trust Group (MTG).

He claims that the drug epidemic affects every Nigerian.

It is everywhere, Marwa remarked. The fact that it also lies at the heart of all forms of criminality—insurgents, terrorists, and bandits—makes it the biggest issue.

There are around 15 million drug users in Nigeria, which is a very high prevalence that is close to three times the global frequency. When it comes to drugs, there is a problem in every town, and it is increasingly affecting families and neighborhoods. As stakeholders, it’s imperative that we all take action and meet this challenge.

And the President declared a war on drug usage last year in light of this. Because we are all affected, the goal of the fight against drug usage is to raise awareness and empower Nigerians to take personal responsibility for it.

In order to avoid the United Nations’ (UN) estimate that the country’s 15 million drug users may increase in next 20 years, he said Nigerians must prioritize the anti-drug campaign.

About 28 states in the US have really lifted the prohibition on cannabis. However, I was only watching President Biden on Thursday when he was in the process of lifting the moratorium. Actually, the situation is different.

“First of all, it is against the law to possess illegal narcotics in Nigeria. Now it is up to the judges’ discretion to decide whether the possession merits the appropriate sentence.

“Regardless of whether the person in possession is dealing it or using it themselves, “We in the NDLEA identify it as a crime,” the statement continued.

We frequently refrain from criminalizing and punishing consumers, even if they are just regular users. Instead, we treat them, and I believe this is a crucial argument for Medicare. Over 12,000 of the 18,900 arrests that occurred during my tenure thus far received counseling and treatment.

You’d hear that we imprisoned over 2,904 people. In reality, the number is increasing as more than 20 convictions were obtained in Lagos on Thursday, and many are looking in that direction. However, we treat people who are in possession much more, and we must be extremely explicit about this.

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