The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has extolled the formulation of a National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) by the Nigerian Government. In a goodwill message at the occasion of the official launch of the Master Plan, UNODC congratulated the government and people of Nigeria for the important document and used the opportunity of the global focus on the drug problem to reiterate the call for sustained concerted efforts in the war against drugs and related organized crime in Nigeria.
The UNODC also called for more access to improved drug abuse treatment. It added that science and evidence-based practices must prevail in the delivery of prevention and treatment of drug use. Mr. Polleak Okserei who presented the goodwill message on behalf of the UNODC country representative said that “these approaches are the foundation for all our efforts.
With nearly 200,000 drug-related deaths and with 1.65 million infected with HIV in 2013, access to evidence based prevention and treatment can sometimes be the difference between life and death. People also endure unbelievable pain due to lack of controlled medications for medical purposes. At present, only one in six people who use drugs globally has access to treatment.
Women face numerous barriers to treatment while one in three drug users globally are women, only one in five drug users in treatment are women”. Meanwhile, the formulation of the Master Plan was led by an Inter-Ministerial Drug Control Committee in Nigeria with support from UNODC under the framework of the European- Union funded project, ‘Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria’.
According to the UNODC, “today’s commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking is all the more special as it coincides with the official launch of Nigeria’s National Drug Control Master Plan”. NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade thanked the UNODC, EU and the inter-ministerial committee for their priceless efforts in the formulation of the Master Plan.
In his words, “I sincerely appreciate the contribution of stakeholders towards this comprehensive policy document which is a compendium of new ideas and drug control approaches. The Agency will work with all relevant bodies to ensure effective multi-sectoral interventions as specified in the Master Plan”. NDLEA Director General Mrs. Roli Bode George who reviewed the Master Plan said that the beauty of the plan is that its formulation and implementation is based on the principle of collective participation. She listed some objectives of the plan to include, “prioritizing issues identified through inclusive and participatory consultation, address disparity between law enforcement and drug demand reduction.
Others are to provide strategic direction and capacity, enhance operational coordination and implementation as well as promote systematic policy oversight and evaluation”. The implementation strategy for the Master Plan recommends clear roles and responsibilities for lead and implementing agencies at all levels, multi-agency implementation plan and robust monitoring and evaluation. In addition to the Master Plan, two other important documents were equally launched. They are the 2015 World Drug Report and the 2014 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report.
The European Union which has fully funded the formulation of the Master Plan is also committed to supporting its implementation in partnership with the government of Nigeria over the next five years. The 2015 theme for the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is ‘Let’s Develop, Our Lives, Our Communities, Our Identities Without Drugs’.