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NACOB is facing challenges – Minister

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James Agalga
James Agalga

Mr James Agalga, Deputy Minister of the Interior has alerted Parliament and other stakeholders on the need to adequately resource the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) to carry out its mandate effectively.

The Governing Board of the agency, dissolved in November last year, is yet to reconstituted; there is lack of state of the art equipment, no national drug rehabilitation centre, lack of office accommodation, operational vehicles and inadequate budgetary allocation, he said.

Mr Agalga exposed the challenges in a statement on the floor of Parliament in Accra on Friday, to mark the celebration of the World Drug Day celebration.

“Mr Speaker, though NACOB is operating in all regions of Ghana, NACOB has no regional offices on its own. This is seriously affecting operations at the Regional Offices.

“This notwithstanding, government through NACOB and with the support of both local and international partners has made alloy of progress to stem the drug menace.

“It is hoped that when NACOB finally becomes a commission, all these challenges will be dealt with to enable the Commission carry out its mandate effectively.”

According to the Deputy Minister the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and also known as the World Drug Day, was set aside by the UN for all member states to mark with activities of the ever present need to highlight and create awareness on the dangers and consequences of drug abuse illicit drug trafficking.

He registered government’s awareness of the effects of illicit drug trade as violence, especially in urban areas, and the corruption caused by the trade, as well as the criminalisation of economies when companies and entire economic sectors are taken over by criminal networks.

Despite modest success in controlling the health threats posed by drugs, the harsh reality is that the drug trade has developed criminal market of macro-economic size, he said.

He spoke of efforts to amend the current legislation on drug law enforcement, adding that a lot of work has been done on the draft bill and would soon be laid in parliament.

Mr Agalga said this year the celebration would focus on developing “our lives or communities and our identities without drug”.

In a contribution to the statement, Papa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi linked the drug trade to corruption and called for national and concerted efforts to prevent drug barons from making the country a haven for the illicit trade.

Mr Fritz Baffour, Chairman of the Select Committee on Interior and MP for Ablekuma South, said illegal drugs have taken over the economies of some countries in South America, and creating instability there.

“It is up to us to support NACOB with the necessary resources,” Mr Baffour said, adding, “We have to ensure that society is made aware of the menace. It is important we work on it.”

Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, sent his colleagues in banters and laughter, when he blasted older men who use aphrodisiacs to enhance their sexual engagements with younger women.

He was of the view that not only drug dealers should be named and shamed, but any arrangement that encouraged illicit drug trade.

His comment about aphrodisiac brought Mr Kobena Tahir Hammond, MP for Adansi Asokwa, a Muslim, on his feet on a point of order, and brought the attention of the Speaker that “Muslims could not listen to that kind puff rendition during the month of fasting”.

Dr Alhassan Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and MP for Mion Constituency drew the attention of the House on the misuse and abuse of antibiotics.

Source: GNA

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