By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), in charge of Zone 7, Bala Ciroma, has called for collaboration among stakeholders in order to fight the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and drug abuse in all dimensions.
He made the call at the National Security Summit organised by the Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CCAN), in Abuja, weekend.
The summit which was with the Theme: COVID-19, Drug Abuse, Mental health: Implication on national security, was funded by the African Health Budget Network. (AHBN).
This is even as the Coordinator of AHBN, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, has disclosed that COVID-19 is a threat to the world and that it compromised education, social economic development, security and immigrations among others
He insisted that the only way to make the needed impact in combating the effect of COVID-19 is for stakeholders to come up with strategies to prevent and combat crimes associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is why the civil society organisations will continue to dialogue with the media and the security apparatus to address the security challenges.
“We urge the organisers of this programme to come with recommendations that can be used to strengthen security in the country when implemented.
“The focus is to help the media to develop actionable and advocacy to engage different security apparatus to prevent and combat crimes,” he said.
Dr. Magashi further, insisted that “COVID-19 has created lock down, isolation, social distancing and affected people that are depressed (mental health), and also complicated the issue of drug abuse. If somebody losses job due to the COVID-19, there will be depression and that person could go into drug abuse. People that are into drug abuse have the tendency to commit crime because they are not doing anything. That affects the national security.
“We are here to galvanise action among the media, the Nigeria Police Force and the NDLEA, NAFDAC and we that are in the Civil Society so that we can work together and curtail crime that are related to COVID-19, mental health and drug abuse.”
Speaking further, AIG Ciroma who was represented by the Area Commander Metro ACP, Nurudeen Sabo, said: “It is worthy of note that, in our capacity as the front line law enforcement agencies we have taken necessary measures in ensuring due compliance with the COVID-19 regulations and worked closely with sister security agencies to tackle the menace of drug abuse through constant operations and raids on drug spots.
“Furthermore, we are collaborating with stakeholders in the medical sector to have a sensitization drive on the need for a balanced mental health.
Speaking earlier in an address of welcome, the Chairman, Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria, Malam Hassan Zaggi, said the aim of this summit was to bring to the fore how COVID-19, drug abuse and mental health have become threat to national security and also explore possible ways of reducing their negative impact.
According to him: “It is still very fresh in our minds how COVID-19 almost shot down the whole world for many weeks. Almost everybody, both big and the small were in hiding.
“It is also fresh in our minds how, in Nigeria, government assets were destroyed and burnt down in search of COVID-19 palliative.
“The security of the country was threatened to its roots as hoodlums almost took over the entire landscape causing havock of unimaginable magnitude.
“Thanks to the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for putting the hoodlums to check.
“Drug abuse is another demon that is threatening our national security.”