‘African countries will remain in chains until they break free from drug barons’ – Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has charged the heads of Africa’s national drug law enforcement agencies with coordinating efforts to combat substance misuse and illicit drug trafficking in their respective countries.

The President warned forcefully that the African continent would stay enslaved unless it broke free from the shackles of drug lords and illicit drug syndicates.

He issued the warning while opening the 31st meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa (HONLAF) at the Abuja Continental Hotel on Tuesday.

“If we don’t dismantle the criminal enterprises that threaten our future and build a brighter tomorrow for all Africans, we will likely remain in chains in a diseased and amoral world, as will our children and their children,” Tinubu warned.

In his keynote address titled, ‘Rising Above the Drug Threat’, the President who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the event, observed that Africa was “at the mercy of a threat that knows neither race nor geography, neither gender nor social class”.

To this effect, he enjoined the heads of drug law enforcement agencies to consider the conference in Abuja as a ray of hope and a catalyst for positive change across the continent.

Tinubu thanked the officials for their sacrifices in ensuring a world that is free of illicit drugs.

He said, “This threat has crossed borders and destroyed societies and dreams. Without the moral commitment of the men and women in this room, this threat would have left cities, countries, and even civilizations erased. So, I must commend you for your sacrifices in the bids to keep our world drug-free, sane and safe.

“This conference emphasizes your investment across borders to protect us from the devastations of drugs, a threat that only submits to the enforcement of the law.

“Therefore, we are grateful to HONLAF and its partners, notably the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for creating this avenue, for offering intelligence and drug law enforcement officials a grand opportunity to compare notes, collaborate, and build networks that would be several steps ahead of the criminal network of drug transnational organizations.”

The President expressed regrets that in the last couple of decades, criminal organisations had made frantic efforts to breach security measures in African countries, all in a bid to pollute the minds of their citizens, adding however that the anti-narcotics agencies have proven to be a thorn in their flesh.

Tinubu, who doubles as the chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stated: “But while it’s a compliment that drug-law enforcement organizations are a threat to their criminal empires, their desperation must never be taken for granted.”

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