The Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse has countered Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s quest to legally produce cannabis in the country, saying its economic values cannot be equated to the life of Nigerians.
“It is disturbing that at this time when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing cannabis, anyone or group will be considering or advocating for Nigeria to legalise the growing of marijuana for economic or whatever purposes,” PACEDA chairman and former military administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Mohammed Marwa said in a statement late on Friday.
“We dare say that no economic gain is worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the street as a result of the effect of cannabis.”
The statement came days after Akeredolu, who led a delegation of Ondo State Government officials to Thailand to understudy modalities for the legal production of marijuana (cannabis) in Nigeria.
On return to Nigeria, Akeredolu advised the Federal Government to encourage the cultivation of cannabis for its economic values worth over $40 million and potential for job creation.
But in a veiled counter to Akeredolu, the Federal Government agency said such move was wrong and disturbing.
“Our committee has spent the last six months going round the country to obtain first-hand information about the dangers of drug abuse and how to combat it,” Marwa said.
“We have been faced with the stark reality of how deep the menace has damaged and still damaging lives, especially the youths.
“We should not, therefore, fold our hands or keep sealed lips while deliberate attempts are being made to sabotage the genuine efforts of the Federal Government in the interest of the nation,” Marwa said.
He said the increasing use of illegal substances and drug abuse in Nigeria spurred President Muhammadu Buhari to set up PACEDA to find a lasting solution to the threat.
He called on all stakeholders, at the federal, state and local government levels to rally round the Federal Government efforts at eliminating the menace of drug abuse rather than engaging in any counter-productive venture.”