Wives of governors across the 36 states in Nigeria have pledged to drive the country’s substance abuse prevention programs in their various states.
This was contained in their communiqué after a two-day Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Care training organised for them in Abuja by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The training was aimed at enhancing the capabilities of governors’ wives to enable them to effectively participate in drug demand reduction programs at the state level.
Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum, (NGWF) and wife of Ekiti state governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who gave the commitment on behalf of her colleagues said that they recognise the fact that drug and substance use is a serious health challenge in Nigeria, and as First Ladies, they are willing to partner with the NDLEA in addressing the drug scourge in the country.
“This training has opened up new perspectives on the drug problem in the country. As mothers and leaders, we are ready to take the lead in reversing the situation”, she assured.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd), said that the involvement of the First Ladies would be most impactful as there are no better War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) Champions and Ambassadors at the State level than the governors’ wives.
Some key decisions reached at the end of the training in Abuja include the Establishment and Chairing of State Drug Control Committees (SDCC) in all states.
To ensure sustainability, the SDCC should be a standing committee with budgetary allocation.
They equallyresolved that the SDCC would develop work plans in line with the NDCMP 2021–2025 as well as ensure coordination with the national secretariat.
The States will henceforth focus on interventions that have produced evidence-based results, such as the implementation of the unplugged drug prevention education program in all public and private secondary schools.
The States will help to build the capacities of the frontline workers that will be responsible for the implementation of the drug control interventions, such as DPTC sensitization, unplugged master trainers, and treatment curriculum for drug treatment professionals, among others.
However, at the local government level, the meeting agreed that the drug committees should be called WADA committees and chaired by the local government chairpersons and membership to include traditional rulers, religious and community leaders.
They also agreed to make primary health care centers available to people with drug use disorders, particularly women and to increase women and girls’ access to drug treatment services, female-only drug treatment centers shall be established.
The forum will in addiction advocate for the establishment of at least three rehabilitation centres in every state; one in each senatorial district with the allocation of funds to build one rehabilitation center per budget year.
Other areas of concern include liaising with the presidency’s at-risk children program to ensure the inclusion of out-of-school children as well as drug testing for intending couples.