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National Drug Control Master Plan: A panacea to drug trafficking in Nigeria?

By Victor Okoye, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

By most accounts, the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019 is a strategic policy-driven, results-based planning tool for coordinating interventions against illicit drug use and trafficking as well as drug-related crime in Nigeria.

The NDCMP 2015-2019 was launched in June 2015 by Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abuja.

In his remarks during the launch, Giade noted that the implementation of the NDCMP 2015- 2019 plan was vital to efforts to resolve drug problems and drug-related crimes in Nigeria.

He said that he had no doubt that all stakeholders involved in the campaign against illicit drug use and drug-related crime in the country would place a high premium on the implementation of the master plan.

The master plan outlines activities that would aid efforts to address the menace of illicit drugs’ cultivation, production, use, and trafficking within and outside the country, in line with international drug control conventions.

All the same, three months after its launch, the implementation of the plan has yet to begin.

The recent apprehension of an Arik Air crew member at Heathrow Airport, London, for allegedly peddling substances, suspected to be cocaine, once again brings to the foreground the need to expedite action on the plan’s implementation.

In order for the NDCMP to achieve its objectives and outcomes, Dr Jeremiah Dimlong, a criminologist, underscored the need put in place certain conditions.

“These include a firm institutional cooperative framework, a reliable funding mechanism, strategic management practices and trained professional staff.

“Besides, the political will and commitment by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for the master plan must be more than just a mere proclamation of support,’’ he said.

Dimlong underscored the need for a pragmatic commitment to examining and identifying the most efficient arrangements regarding the collaboration at the federal level and then, between federal and state authorities.

“Such arrangements must define the types of collaboration as well as the responsibilities of relevant agencies, as part of designed efforts to achieve results,’’ he said.

Analysts, therefore, insist that the coordination of the implementation of the NDCMP 2015-2019 must undergo thorough planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Michael Ofeyeju, the Public Relations Officer of NDLEA, said that an efficient coordination mechanism for the activities of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) and the State Drug Control Committees (SDCC) was of utmost importance.

“In other to achieve this, it is important that coordination arrangements are clear and they should include provisions regarding the position and mandates of the National Coordinating Unit (NCU).

“The best coordination is ensured in a two-way relationship between IMC and the SDCCs. The creation and operation of the NCU should facilitate such kind of coordination,’’ he said.

Ofeyeju said: “The IMC, through the NCU, must encourage concrete, achievable, realistic and measurable results, so as to improve the needed delivery and effective coordination.

“The IMC should foster effective and transparent organisational management, build staff capacity, where required, provide for coherence of programmes and projects in the areas of drug use and drug crime at different levels of administration.

“It must ensure that each entity responsible for the implementation of the relevant parts of the NDCMP 2015-2019 incorporates these in their respective annual plans from 2015 onwards.

“It must promote knowledge, understanding and acceptance of the NDCMP 2015-2019 as the leading political and strategic platform in the area concerned.

“Besides, tangible efforts should be made to encourage systematic reporting on the progress made in implementing the NDCMP 2015-2019 to the stakeholders as well as the donors and the public,’’ he said.

Analysts, therefore, believe that the coordination and implementation of the NDCMP 2015-2019 is a complex and technical endeavour which requires structured efforts, finances, human resources and communication.

As a result, they insist that NDLEA must also ensure that it works closely with other stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC, among others, in order to achieve its desired goal.

This is because NDLEA is the lead agency for advocacy, sensitisation and prevention programmes, while the Federal Ministry of Health is the lead agency for drug users’ treatment and continuing care programmes.

The analysts, however, underscore the need to clearly specify the roles and responsibilities of the agencies involved in the project.

This multi-agency implementation strategy requires each agency to buy into the project, while implementing specific schemes in its operational and professional domain. (NANFeatures)



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