The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya has emphasized the need for commanders at all levels in the Nigerian Army to carry out periodic sensitization exercise to educate personnel on the consequences of consuming and peddling hard drugs.
The army chief made the call during an Anti-Drugs and Narcotics Control Conference put together by the Initiative Against Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nigeria (IAASAN), in collaboration with the Nigerian Army and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Sokoto.
The COAS, represented by the General Officer Commanding 8 Division Nigerian Army/Commander Joint Taskforce North West Operation Hadarin Daji, Major General Godwin Mutkut, said the awareness conference was premised on the importance of sensitizing troops and other security personnel, especially those deployed in combat operations across the country who are likely to resort to drugs in order to cope with the significant pressure and associated stress.
The COAS revealed that the Nigerian Army has zero tolerance for drugs abuse, hence, personnel who are found indulging in the act will face the consequences in accordance with the laws.
He said in a bid to checkmate and dissuade personnel from the menace, the Nigerian Army has encouraged adequate provision for personnel welfare. He therefore called on commanders to give utmost priority to the administrative needs their soldiers and occasionally come up with sensitization exercise to enlighten them on the dangers of drug peddling and abuse at all command levels.
Lieutenant General Yahaya thanked IAASAN and the NDLEA for collaborating with the Nigerian Army to conduct the sensitization exercise. Most importantly, for choosing the North West where troops and personnel of other security agencies are currently combating banditry and other forms of criminalities, including the menace of drugs abuse.
He expressed optimism that the exercise will not only enlighten security personnel but will greatly address the challenges of drug peddling and abuse in the region.
Speaking earlier during her welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of IAASAN and convener of the conference, Princess Jamila Abubakar noted that her organization chose the North West region which is within 8 Division Area of Responsibility because of the upsurge of illicit drug use and peddling among the people of the zone especially the youths.
The highpoint of the conference was a novelty football match and presentation of awards to some dignitaries who graced the occasion.