Rivers governor Nyesom Wike says the root causes of banditry and kidnapping in the country are the illicit use of drugs.
Mr. Wike disclosed this during a visit by the NDLEA chairman Mohammed Buba Marwa at the government house in Port Harcourt.
“It’s most unfortunate that people think that fighting crime is only when you fight bandits and kidnappers. But nobody wants to understand the root cause of most of these crimes”, Mr. Wike said, adding that with efforts to reduce the use of illicit drugs, crime will reduce in the country.
The governor also said his administration will work with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to set up a drug rehabilitation centre in the state
“As for the rehabilitation centre, we will work that out with the commander in the state to see how we can set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in the state. We will also give you three Hilux Vans immediately to enhance performance of the agency,” he said.
Governor Wike urged the federal government to give equal attention to both drug influence and the crime perpetrators to fight against crime across the country.
In his response, Mr. Marwa reiterated the Governor’s comment, saying the country is experiencing too much criminality with insurgency banditry, kidnapping, and rape caused by perpetrators under the influence of drugs.
“Unfortunately, this is one thing [drug abuse] that does not distinguish between communities, ethnicity, religion, age or gender,” Mr. Marwa said.
“The prevalence in Rivers State, actually, is 15 percent. That is from the drug survey of the UNODC that was released recently. But it is not the worst, in fact, it is placed 14 in the country.”
“But a state like Lagos has a prevalence of 33 percent. That, actually, means one out of every three Lagosians between the ages of 15 and 64 is taking something. That is terrible for a country such as ours. Concerted efforts are required to deal with it,” he added.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of three brand new Hilux vans by chief of staff to the governor, Emeka Woke, to Mr. Marwa.