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Presidential c’ittee warns Gov. Akeredolu against promoting cannabis cultivation

Any plan or advocacy to legalise the growing of cannabis in Nigeria for whatever purpose “will be counter-productive” because the Federal Government had been committed to the elimination of the menace of drug abuse in the country, the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse said,  on Friday.

The warning came four days after Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State advised the Federal Government to encourage the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, also known as Indian hemp, in the country.

Chairman of PACEDA and a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Mohammed Marwa (rtd), in a statement which appeared a veiled reference to Governor Akeredolu, said such move was wrong and disturbing.

It was reported that while urging the Federal Government to support the growing of medicinal cannabis in large quantity in Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu had said the cannabis industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs for youths and spur the economic diversification of the country.

But Marwa who dismissed this move said no economic gain would be worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the streets as a result of the effect of cannabis.

Said he,  “It is disturbing that at this time when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing cannabis, anyone or group will be considering or advocating for Nigeria to legalise the growing of marijuana for economic or whatever purposes.

“Our committee has spent the last six months going round the country to obtain first hand information about the dangers of drug abuse and how to combat it, and we have been faced with the stark reality of how deep the menace has damaged and still damaging lives, especially the youths.

“No doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about this emergency situation, hence the decision to set up PACEDA to find a lasting solution to the threat. We should not therefore fold our hands or keep sealed lips while deliberate attempts are being made to sabotage the genuine efforts of the Federal Government in the interest of the nation.

He added, “We dare say that no economic gain is worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the street as a result of the effect of cannabis.

“There is therefore the need for all stakeholders, at the federal, state and local government levels to rally round the Federal Government efforts at eliminating the menace of drug abuse rather than engaging in any counter-productive venture.”