The chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, at an award event for NDLEA officers in Abuja Wednesday, asked for permission to conduct drug tests as part of the screening of ruling All Progressives Congress candidates for the 2023 presidential election.
The APC, according to the schedule, will hold its screening for candidates starting May 12 – State House of Assembly/Governorship, May 13 – House of Representatives/Senate, May 14 – Presidential.
Marwa said that when it is the turn of PDP and other parties, to conduct their party primaries, he would also write the national chairman and request that operatives of NDLEA be allowed to conduct drug integrity tests on politicians aspiring for higher offices.
Much of the existing social order is founded on competition for, and distribution of, rents. Oil and the easy money that came with it destroyed the social fabric and the elite created new institutions and political structures to maximise their gains. As the noose tightened globally on other rentier/criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking or internet scamming, many of the barons flocked to politics as the next easy alternative.Charles Soludo
In January, the wife of the Katsina Governor, Dr Hadiza Bello Masari admonished Nigerians, particularly youths, not to vote for drug-addicted politicians during the polls.
She said the menace of drug addiction had pervaded all segments of the society and only drug integrity tests on people in critical service sectors can sanitise the system.
It is pertinent for us to check whoever is contesting for any political position or office to ascertain whether he or she is not a drug addict before we can vote for him. We should make sure that the person is not a drug-addicted politician irrespective of whoever he is.Hadiza Bello Masari
The governor’s wife lamented that the misbehaviour of some political office holders, as well as most of the crimes committed in the society, are drug-induced.
In mid-March, Buba Marwa, when he paid Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, said one in every seven Nigerians is addicted to drugs.
Marwa, who commended Sanwo-Olu’s administration for efforts to address drug abuse, called for integrity drug tests for students and politicians, especially those contesting for public offices.
”Running for public offices is a big responsibility. You shouldn’t be in this important assignment for the public and your head is filled up because of drugs.”
Drug addiction in Nigeria
Drug abuse is both a global health and social problem with distinct conditions and problems that vary from place to place.(WHO, 1987)
As the 2018 National Drug Use Survey revealed, in Nigeria at that time there were around 14.3 million drug users of which close to 3 million suffered from a drug use disorder.
“In Nigeria, with 14.4% the drug use prevalence is significantly higher than the global average.“
According to a consultant psychiatrist at 68, Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Akin Oguntuase, some of these substance-induced disorders include; delirium, dementia, amnestic disorder, psychotic disorder, anxiety disorder, sexual dysfunction, among others.
How Marwa plans to carry out the political candidate exercise is not clear, but his proposal might be due to previous charges of drug use among politicians.