Wives of Nigeria’s 36 state governors across have assured that they will help drive the country’s substance abuse prevention programs in their various states.
They gave the pledge in Abuja on Friday, July 1, 2022, in a communiqué at the end of 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.
According to Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum, NGWF, and wife of Ekiti state governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who gave the pledge on behalf of her colleagues, Nigeria Governors Wives recognise the fact that drug and substance use poses a serious health challenge in Nigeria, a reason why as first ladies, they are willing to partner with the NDLEA in addressing the drug scourge.
“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 equally resolved 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.
In addition, they 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. 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.
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.