Ghana is no exception in drug menace – Obasanjo
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said Ghana is no exception in the menance of illicit drugs bedevilling the West Africa Sub-Region.
He said the West Africa sub-region which was initially a transit point in drug trafficking was now also noted for drug abuse, adding that the threat needed to be addressed urgently.
Former President Obasanjo who is also the Chairman of the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) made the remark during a press conference by the Commission on Tuesday in Accra.
He said the Commissioners visited a rehabilitation centre run by a faith-based non-governmental organization, as well as the neighbourhood of Tudu in the central business district of Acrra, where there is a high concentration of drug users.
He said interactions with most of the drug addicts in Ghana showed that they either got involved during their school days or through peer presure, and that the most commonly abused substances were cocaine, heroine and marijuana.
Former President Obasanjo said causes of the problem of drug abuse were essentially social, such as broken homes, school drop outs and unemployment; and declared that drug abusers cut across all classes of society.
The WACD Chairman said in order to minimize the challenge of drug addiction, families, schools, the community, and the general public must get on board in the fight against menace.
Quoting a proverb from his native Yuroba language, he said: “Four eyes bring forth a child into the world, but it takes 200 eyes to bring him up”.
He said juvenile delinquency was a challenge to parents, the family, the church, the school, the judiciary, and society as a whole, and that if it was to be reduced effctively the effort had to start from all segments of society.
The WACD Chairman said up to 80 tonnes of cocaine were estimated to transit through West Africa annually, with a wholesale value of close to $2 billion, representing 25 per cent of the European cocaine market.
He said West Africans consumed about one-third of the drugs that came through the region and there were an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million drug users in West Africa.