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Marijuana Users in Nigeria More than Population of Portugal, Greece, and Benin Republic

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has revealed that the number of people using marijuana in Nigeria is more than the combined populations of Portugal, Greece, and Benin Republic. The agency further revealed that marijuana cannot be legalized in Nigeria because it is a critical driver of crime.

Speaking on behalf of NDLEA chairman, retired Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, the NDLEA director of media and advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said the federal agency cannot support the cultivation and use of Cannabis Sativa in the country.

Babafemi made this statement at the 2021 Ulefunta lecture organized every year in Ondo State by the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi through Lanre Ipinmisho, special adviser on National Drug Control Master Plan.

The NDLEA said violent crimes and murders around the world are associated with illicit drugs such as marijuana. It noted that drug barons and cartels in Columbia and Mexico are even more powerful than the government and that they are turning the countries into constant chaos.

“We have seen narco-terrorism in Colombia and Mexico where drug cartels are law unto themselves and are as powerful, if not more powerful, than the state,” the agency stated. “So, there are real cases, not scenarios, of where and how illicit substances played a role in a society’s rapid descent into chaos and tethering on the brink of a failed state.”

While recreational and medical marijuana is approved in Canada and the United States among other countries, the NDLEA said Nigeria does not have the legal and security infrastructure obtainable in these nations. He said many people have lost their lives and many families have been broken on account of drug misuse in Nigeria.

“Cannabis remains an illicit substance,” Ipinmisho emphasised. “The agency shall always campaign against its cultivation, possession, trafficking, sales and use. Offenders will face the wrath of the law. And, if I may add, our conviction rate is 90 per cent successful.”