Nigerian Team in Thailand for Scientific Research on Drug Eradication

Far from the truth! This sums up the media reportage that His Excellency,

Executive Governor, Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu and Chairman/Chief Executive,

NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd.) were on a mission to Republic

of Thailand to learn how to grow Cannabis sativa for medicinal purpose.

This runs against logic. First and foremost, Thailand is not a country where

Cannabis is grown. Only Poppy plant is grown in Thailand for the production of

Heroin. The team from Nigeria has premised the purpose of the visit to Thailand

On the need to understudy how the country (Thailand) has successfully migrated

some of her citizens hitherto engaged in illicit Poppy plant cultivation to the

cultivation of legitimate economic crops and other lawful businesses. Thailand’s

model is the direction the entire world is heading and Nigeria cannot afford to be

left behind.

A closer look at NDLEA’s mandate justifies such a strategic and scientific step

being taken by the Nigeria’s lead Agency for drug control and other stakeholders.

According to Section 3 subsection (1) h of NDLEA Act, one of the Agency’s

mandate is to ensure “the facilitation of rapid exchange of scientific and technical

information and the conduct of research geared towards eradication of illicit use

of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances”. The Agency is also to “adopt

measures to eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotic plants and to eliminate illicit

demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with a view to reducing

human suffering and eliminating financial incentives for illicit traffic in narcotic

drugs and psychotropic substances.”

The scientific research which is in accordance with the mandate of NDLEA is

therefore to find ways of replicating what Thailand has done to curb Poppy, in

relation to eradicating the pervasive Cannabis cultivation in some parts of Nigeria,

particularly the South West. The visit will enable Ondo State Government and

NDLEA to acquire best practices that can be replicated in Nigeria for curbing

cannabis cultivation.

Thailand is known widely as a success story in alternative livelihood development

for building alternative income in fruits farming and crafts which has helped in

curbing Opium production. The Mae Fah Luang Foundation in Thailand which is

implementing the Doi Tung Development Project has been preventing the growth

of opium through this process, which has drastically reduced opium in Thailand.

Sometime last year, Oyo State Government visited the Foundation in Thailand and

the lesson learnt is already transforming the Cannabis cultivation landscape in

Oyo State where the forests used for Cannabis cultivation have been acquired for

a chain of agricultural activities, which is gainfully engaging the hitherto Cannabis

farmers.

NDLEA at the recent meeting of Commission for Narcotic Drugs, CND, in Vienna,

Austria re-affirmed the position of Nigeria against the legalization and

decriminalization of Cannabis for recreational purposes and also stated that the

process for developing Cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes is a multi-

sectoral responsibility which must pass through legal procedures.

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