NDLEA to conduct tests on politicians, recruits & students
Story from Ibraheem Hamza MUHAMMAD, Lafiya
A bill to empower the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to carry out compulsory and routine drug tests on those seeking election into public offices is being proposed in the House of Representatives.
The Bill, which will be listed for hearing as the House reconvenes from its annual recess, also seeks to subject all serving and intending military personnel, law enforcement agents and security officers in Nigeria, as well as candidates seeking admissions into tertiary institutions in Nigeria to mandatory checks on drugs.
Chairman, House Committee on Narcotics Drugs, Hon. Francis Ottah Agbo, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Abuja over the weekend.
The Lawmaker explained that the menace of narcotic drugs addiction has pervaded all segments of the society and only drug integrity tests on people in critical service sectors can sanitize the system.
He also noted that the misbehaviour of some political office holders as well as most of the crimes committed in the society are drug-induced stressing that these would have been avoided if those involved have ab initio been ascertained free from illicit drugs.
Dr Ottah Agbo who is also the Spokesman of the Minority Caucus of the House cited the instance of a 21-year old, Chidinma Ojukwu, who reportedly murdered her billionaire lover and a CEO of Star TV, Mr Ataga, after being induced by illicit drugs to drive home his point!
He said: “I’m proposing a bill to empower the NDLEA to carry out a mandatory and routine drugs test on politicians seeking public offices, top public servants, military and paramilitary officers and men, and for youths seeking admission into high institutions. This will check excesses, madness in the country and sanitize the system!
“Narcotic drug addiction is common amongst our people across the board. From secondary schools to universities, from North to South, from politicians to civil servants etc. Indeed, Nigeria is the highest abuser of illicit drugs and cannabis is the most abused drug in our country.
“The more drug abusers or addicts are entrusted with critical service delivery, the more endangered our society becomes. NDLEA will be empowered to carry out the integrity test on them, rehabilitate those that fail the test before they are reabsorbed in their organisations or admitted into schools as the case may be.”
The Lawmaker said though some may kick against the bill as infringing on their rights, “but the truth is that the drug matter is a serious one, the illicit drug is killing Nigeria right now and we must waive those rights and do anything doable to fight the drug war and declare a state of emergency on drug abuse. If we fail to kill narcotic drug addiction, it will kill Nigeria.”
Dr Agbo, a Journalist and former spokesperson to former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson, called on the National Assembly, critical stakeholders in the Drug Industry and Nigerians generally to support the proposed bill.
The Parliamentarian also called on all Nigerians and particularly his constituents, to be ambassadors of the war against drug abuse.