National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
1 Lagos, Nigeria
It gives me utmost pleasure to be part of this all-important gathering. All-important because the issue we are gathered here to dissect is as topical as it is critical. Drugs and HIV/AIDS have remained a twin issue that directly affects a large proportion of people in Africa and the rest of the world, particularly the youths. Although we cannot readily ascertain the number of people that are dependent on drugs, it has been reported that in Nigeria, an estimated 3.6 percent of the
population are living with HIV and AIDS. Although HIV prevalence is much lower in Nigeria than in other African countries such as South Africa and Zambia, the size of Nigeria’s population (around 149 million) meant that by the end of 2009, there were almost 3 million people living with the deadly scourge. Statistics of drug dependent persons cannot be lower in any way. Conservatively, one out of every ten persons is dependent on one form of drugs or another, especially socially
acceptable drugs also known as gateway drugs.
By convoking this conference, the Centre for Research and information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) is, no doubt, setting an agenda that is cardinal to Africa’s developmental strides both in human and material resources. This is because, either drugs or HIV/AIDS, easily regarded as deadly partners, is worse than the dreaded Second World War both in terms of impact on the global human population and the resources deployed to contain these challenges. A combination
of these problems therefore has so far left unimaginable tales of woe to the entire humanity. ln spite of this, these twin problems have not been the popular choice of institutions and individuals in their efforts towards uncovering ways of tackling the menaces.