Nigerians in Diaspora urge govt to be proactive in global illicit drug campaign
As the United Nations prepare for the periodic reviews of the global illicit drug policy in 2016, some Nigerian under the aegis of the United Nigerians in Diaspora (UNID), has urged the Federal Government to be proactive in the global drug policy review and implementation.
UNID is a non-governmental organization aimed at addressing youths challenges, providing succor to the downtrodden, as well as collaborating with the governments in finding solutions to global and national social malaise.
UNID said in a statement signed by its President, Dr Paschal O. Okoli, that the unwholesome venture of Nigerians, especially youths, in global drug trafficking made it imperative for the federal government to maximise the dividends of sustained diplomatic overtures.
“The federal government must raise its’ voice in the global campaign against drug trafficking, production, use and against the killing of drug offenders, especially Nigerians in some Asian countries,” it said.It said that the nonchalant attitude of government, especially Nigerian Embassies in the case of alleged drug offenses, mostly in Asian countries, further embolden most countries in the maltreatment of Nigerians abroad.
“ Federal government in condemning global illicit drug trafficking, production and use must also be seen to be vigorously protecting the rights of every citizens no matter where he/she resides,” it said.
It urged the federal government to also mobilise the State and Local Governments in providing social and economic education in the danger and implications of trafficking in illicit drug nationally and globally.
“Our current focus on punishment by imprisonment and death for drug offenders is outdated and Nigeria needs to join forces with others countries in championing correction through sustainable awareness campaign and management of the nation’s drug problem,” it added.
The organization also said that their advocacy on the overhaul of drug laws, stemmed from the failure of the subsisting global drug policy to meet more than four decades of projections by the United Nations.
According to them, criminalization of drug trafficking, production, sales and use, from available studies showed that it impacted negatively on the essence of globalization (International sustainable social and economic development).
The association in the statement said that excessive negative consequences and negligible effectiveness have now been broadly acknowledged and hence the need for de-escalation.
It said that the overhaul must focus on respect for human rights, decriminalisation, proportionality of sentences, a developmental approach to illicit production and an evidence-based return to global rationality.
The subsisting global drug treaty, it said, is plagued with inconsistencies and ambiguous obstacles to international drug policy improvements.
The organisation also said that their demand for reforms remains a direct challenge to the zero-tolerance nature of the UN conventions riddled with a number of outdated articles.
“As was said in the first UN World Drug Report in 997: Laws and even the international Conventions are not written in stone; they can be changed when the democratic will of nations so wishes it,” it said.
UNID argued that what the world needs is a group of countries willing to declare that the current treaty framework is no longer fit for the purpose it was established.
It said that the emergence of more pragmatic and less punitive approaches to the drugs issue may represent the beginning of change in the current global drug control regime.
It also identified the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users, the overcrowding of prisons and the ineffectiveness of repressive anti-drug efforts as the driver of the failure of international drug policy.
According to available data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and European crime-fighting agency (Europol), the annual global drugs trade is pegged at about $435 billion a year, with the annual cocaine trade worth $84 billion.
Globally, organized crime accounts for 1.5 percent of global gross domestic product and is worth about $870 billion and drugs account for 50 per cent of international organized crime income.
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