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Changing Drug Policy

West Africa Commission on Drugs encourages Nigeria to rethink its drug policies

26 November, Abuja – On 26 and 27 November 2015, Commissioners Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana) and Adeolu Ogunrombi (Nigeria) will share key findings of the Commission’s report Not Just in Transit: Drugs, the State and Society in West Africa with the Minister of Health, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drugs Control and civil society groups.

The visit of the Commissioners follows President Muhammadu Buhari acceptance speech remarks that Nigeria aims to become “a more forceful and constructive player” on global issues, such as countering the global drugs problem.

“The West Africa Commission on Drugs is ready to support Nigeria in this endeavour” says Mary Chinery-Hesse.” “Drug trafficking, consumption and production in Nigeria and beyond can undermine institutions, threaten public health and damage development efforts”.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chair of the West Africa Commission on Drugs, says: “I caution against the militarisation of drug policy in Nigeria and West Africa. The war on drugs has not succeeded, and should not be replicated in Africa. Today, the small fry is caught while the big fish swim free.”

“In line with the findings of our report, we call on Nigeria and the other West African governments to reform drug laws and policies and decriminalise low-level and non-violent drug offences”, says Adeolu Ogunrombi.

“The glaring absence of treatment facilities for drug users fuels the spread of disease and exposes an entire generation, users and non-users alike, to growing public health risks.The current approaches have not delivered solutions and Nigeria too needs to rethink its drug policies,” says Obasanjo.

For further information, please contact Mamadou Diallo at 0905 2913 313 or wacd@kofiannanfoundation.org

http://www.wacommissionondrugs.org/


About the West Africa Commission on Drugs:

Deeply concerned by the growing threats of drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa, Kofi Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, convened the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) in January 2013. The Commission’s objectives are to mobilise public awareness and political commitment around the challenges posed by drug trafficking; develop evidence based policy recommendations; and promote regional and local capacity and ownership to manage these challenges.

Chaired by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the Commission comprises a diverse group of West Africans from the worlds of politics, civil society, health, security and the judiciary. The Commission is an independent body and can therefore speak with impartiality and directness. Its report is the culmination of one and a half years of engagement by the Commission with national, regional and international parties including the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It is informed by a series of background papers, drafted by leading experts from Africa and beyond.