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Cannabis legislation: NDLEA boss talks tough, disagrees with Gov Akeredolu, lawmakers

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**threatens to burn down any farm found with cannabis

The chairman and chief executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brag. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has disagreed in strong terms with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and some house of Representatives members that have been pushing for legalisation of cannabis.

Recall that Akeredolu had urged the Nigerian Government to jettison traditional orientation and “archaic” sentiment that said that cannabis is a ‘devil’s plant’.

The Governor at Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the “Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plant in Nigeria” recently urged the Nigerian government to give legal backing to cannabis to enable its use in Nigeria, saying “cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilised”
The National Assembly also has been making moves for the legalisation of the illicit substance under the guise of its economic value.
However, Marwa who spoke at a press briefing to unveil the week-long program ofactivities in commemoration of the UN Internatiknal Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Abuja on Monday said it is a matter of life and money, adding that it is like seeing fire and plunging in to the flame, he said the agency would rather choose life.
“I had the honour to address the Governors forum virtually sometime ago and most definitely the Governor of Ondo brought this matter.
“I can only speak facts. When you plant cannabis yes you sell it and get Billions of Naira but the issue is between life and Money. Life and money which one will you chose? We will choose life.

“Ondo State is the greatest grower of this illicit substance and the NDLEA will continue to burn any farm that we find and arrest the perpetrators.
“It is dangerous it is bad for our health and we will not agree as far as we are concerned.
“I am aware that in the House of Representatives a movement is on by a particular committee to legalise cannabis. That is absolutely within their rights but I doubt if it will be passed.
“Now there is no confrontation or would there ever be between the NDLEA and the Governors forum. To the best of my knowledge it is only one Governor that is pushing for this cannabis matter.
“If you do your arithmetic one divided by 36. He has his absolute right as a Governor to fend for his State. But the law in Nigeria has cannabis as one of the illicit substances and as I mentioned earlier it is between money and life. I think we will chose life.”

He said a global drug survey which is one of the evidence based document that the Agency uses, has it that 10.6m Nigerians use cannabis.
“And if you look at the world’s Cannabis report 2019 it is not 10.6m it is actually 20 million Nigerians. Nigeria is the country with the highest population of people using this drug.
“Always know that it has mind altering substances. Even the Schedule one 1961 convention, schedule 4 of the United Nations said Natikns must continue to exercise strict control over cannabis because of the negative consequences.
“The WHO itself made the Statement that Cannabis still has health issues and we all know that, why will you see fire and go into it. Yes the issue of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is approved in some countries not in all.
“Now we have to look at our own circumstances here.
It is possible a time will come for us to have a rethink but this is not the time. “This is definitely not the time for Nigerians with the highest prevalence of the use. Go to Lagos State the drug use prevalence is 33% from that survey. Most of that is from cannabis and the Southwest itself.”
On the insinuations that the Staff of the Agency engage in selling of exhibit to the users, he said, “NDLEA Staff don’t sell our exhibits, when we seize they are properly documented in each State command under the direct control of the State commander.
“We have exhibited keepers who are trusted, carefully selected officials and the exhibit rooms are well secured. “The exhibits are documented because of evidence in courts where we take them to, so be rest assured if you got such information it is false.”
On another allegation that some traditional rulers harbor traffickers of drugs, he said, traditional rulers are not exempted from the law.
“It is on record, at least once or twice drugs were seized from the palace and we have also arrested some of them.
“In the business of the drug war nobody is above the law here. Whoever you are in this country.
However, he said the agency is partnering with many traditional rulers in various Nigerian Kingdoms, communities, emirates.
“There are just a few bad eggs and those few ones when we discover, we go after them. We welcome information from the public anywhere you feel some of the traditional rulers are involved infirm us
The week-long activity he said started with the press conference after which he will launch the Standard Policy and Practice Guidelines (SPPG) for NDLEA counsellors.
He said on Tuesday will be a live program on NTA ‘Tuesday Live at 10PM, Wednesday will be NGO day, Thursday is a program on Radio Nigeria by 8am followed by a youth awareness program.
“On Friday, June 25th will be a special Jumaat service in commemoration of the UN day at the National Mosque Abuja.
“Saturday will feature the grand Finale, with the former launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) by President Muhammadu Buhari .
“The day will also feature a guest lecture and the unveilingnof the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025. On Sunday, 27th, of June the week’s activity would be rounded off with a church thanksgiving service.

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PSC suspends DCP Abba Kyari, asks IGP to keep Commission updated on findings

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Following the recommendation of the Inspector General of police, the Police Service Commission has suspended Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force from the exercise of the Powers and functions of his office.
Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31st 2021 and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States .
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, had written a letter to the Police Service Commission recommending for the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari.
The Commission thereafter, also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.
The Commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the Commission for the Commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave.

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Kaigama says high cost of foodstuff also taking its toll on his home

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**Advises Nigerians not to abandon grandparents, elderly cos of COVID – 19

***Condemns lavish funerals by Nigerians

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama has said that the escalation in the prices of foodstuff was also biting hard in his home.

He also called on Nigerians not to distance themselves from grandparents and the elderly due to social distancing over COVID – 19 because they are a source of wisdom.

The cleric also described as sad the fact that Nigerians throw “lavish funerals organised for departed ones after they were allowed to live a life of loneliness, misery and neglect.”

Kaigama stated these in his Homily delivered at St. Luke’s Parish, Kubwa in honour of grandparents and the elderly with readings taken from the Old Testament including 2 Kings 4:42-44 and John 6:1-15.

According to him, the N12.3 billion agricultural subsidy from the Federal Government meant form2.2 million farmers should not be diverted like other interventions or palliative measures.

He said, “The escalation in the prices of foodstuff today has made it difficult for the poor among us to feed. My cook, Sunday Emola, showed me some current food prices from Garki market in Abuja: one measure each of garri costs N500, beans – N1,000, rice – N1,000, 1 bag (10kg) of semovita – N5,500, one bottle of groundnut oil – N1,600, one bottle of palm oil – N1,300, one tuber of yam – N1,300, a medium basket of tomatoes – N3,500, 1 gallon of kerosene – N2,000, Alebo – N500, etc.

“The problem in Nigeria is not whether we have resources to share, but the willingness to share them fairly, honestly and charitably. Both first reading and the gospel emphasised the fact that the power to end the hunger and suffering of other people lies in our ability to share the little we have.

“We often forget how far-reaching the little we each possess shared generously can satisfy the needs of other people. Often, we assume that it is the task for the government or the United Nations or NGOs.

“But a lot can be done with our little if we focus on the person in need and the intention rather than the quantity of what is available. I understand that 2.2 million farmers will soon receive N12.3 billion as agricultural subsidy from the Federal Government.

“We hope that the money of this laudable initiative will get directly into the hands of the farmers and not to be diverted like other interventions or palliative measures.

“The elderly are assured of the abiding presence of God who continues to accompany them on the journey of life, despite the difficulties and challenges associated with old age. They are reminded to tenaciously hold on to the faith and to pass it on to the young.

“Grandparents and the elderly are a source of wisdom. By passing on their knowledge, morals and values, they play a great role in the formation of a decent society. They are a strong link between the past, the present and the future.

“We must respect them and pray always for those of them who are sick and weak or suffering conditions associated with aging. Our practice of social distancing due to COVID – 19 should not distance us from them. It is sad today to see lavish funerals organized for departed ones after they were allowed to live a life of loneliness, misery and neglect.

“In these times of moral and social decay, grandparents and the elderly can teach us how to heal our wounded humanity; the spirit of sharing, in a nation where selfishness, corruption and the spate of crime and insecurity deprive many of the basic necessities of life; a nation that continues to take mind boggling financial loans without any corresponding impact on our quality of life; only to leave a fragile and perilous future for generations of our youths.

“As grandparents and the elderly continue their earthly pilgrimage, we expect the government to provide good social security for them even as we entrust them to the intercession of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and grandparents of Jesus.”

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NEF expresses apprehension, Nigeria may not survive till 2023

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The Northern Elders Forum has indicated that Nigeria may not survive the remaining one year and some months of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration hence they
advised the next political party that will take over the helms of national affairs to prepare itself for a very difficult assignment of fixing the country.
They said Nigeria would have been completely wrecked in 2023 with the growing insecurity and economic woes by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress.
The forum’s spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this during an interview on Channels Television on Monday, while also blaming the nation’s ruling elite for the failure of the country.
He said the country’s current challenges were not just as a result of banditry and kidnapping activities but also leadership failure.  He said, “What are you going to do with 2023 because between now and 2023, APC would have completely wrecked this country? You are going to take over a country that has been completely destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by the PDP and how are you going to fix this country?
What’s your blueprint for what happens to Nigeria in 2023?” Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country. The country has been ravaged by terrorism for more than 10 years – a menace which has claimed the lives of over 36,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands to be homeless in the North-East.

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