Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has expressed concern over the use and abuse of drugs as well as rising insecurity across the country. The governors, in a teleconference meeting on Wednesday, restated their commitment to maintaining logistical support for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
This was made known in a statement by the chairman of the forum and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.
The NGF’s commitment to fight drug abuse and insecurity in the country was a sequel to a briefing on Drug Abuse and Insecurity – Relationship and New Perspectives by the NDLEA boss, Buba Marwa.
Although details of Mr. Marwa’s briefing were not stated, Mr. Fayemi said the Forum’s re-commitment is in furtherance to its March 2021 commitment to the agency – when the NDLEA Chief first made such presentation to the governors.
The NGF’s concern and pledge come about a week after Mr. Marwa met with the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, who had expressed preparedness to continue to support the agency in its renewed war against drug abuse and trafficking of illicit substances in the country.
Mr. Marwa had said the NDLEA remains on the offensive against cartels in the capital territory with the arrest of 142 suspects; conviction of 53 offenders; 66 users counseled and rehabilitated and 760 kilograms of illicit substances seized, all within the first three months of the year.
Besides pledging to maintain logistical support to the agency, the NGF also committed to providing additional opportunities for operational synergy, including bringing the agency into the State’s Security Council meetings and providing land for barrack operations.
Other matters arising
The governors also received a presentation on Improving Health Financing and Universal Health Coverage from Eduardo Gonzalez-Pier, Senior Technical Advisor for Palladium.
Palladium is an implementing partner for USAID’s Integrated Health Programme with a shared vision to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030 (SDG3).
After this presentation, the Forum resolved to continuously release equity funds to cover the vulnerable population in all states and onboard civil servants not yet covered under any health insurance scheme.
The governors also resolved to preserve the health sector spending amidst the current contraction in fiscal space for governments.
Additionally, the NGF’s Senior Health Advisor, Ahmad Abdulwahab, highlighted actions taken by state governors over the last month.
This includes participation at the PHC Summit where the NGF committed to intensifying collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to implement the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund for the actualization of the Seattle Declaration.
He also gave updates on health security issues. He highlighted outbreaks of Lassa fever, measles, and cases of meningitis in some parts of the country as well as the ongoing immunization campaigns by the NPHCDA against the diseases.
He noted the need for states to release the requisite counterpart fund and strengthen their respective epidemic preparedness and response.
By QueenEsther Iroanusi,