Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says public office holders should be made to undergo an integrity drug test.
Speaking with NAN on Monday, Marwa said the idea behind the call for the test “is to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse” in the country.
He called on state governments as well as ministries, departments and agencies to consider conducting drug tests on public office holders.
He also recommended the test for students seeking admission into higher institutions, those returning from vacation and intending couples.
“We need to think out of the box with the situation we face to reduce the use of drugs, especially to reduce the use of drugs for our youth, who are the bulk users of drugs,“ he said.
“For instance, we feel that tertiary institutions need to do drug test for their students before they start school or when they are returning from holidays.
“If they test positive, it will affect their progress in school. The test will help us know those that need help early enough before it gets worse.
“It is the same line of thinking, that in Nigeria, like anywhere else in the world, once a youth, after completing school and getting a job, the next thing is marriage.
“Since in Nigeria we go for genotype test, we do HIV test before marriage, voluntarily, why can’t we add drug test the list, so that it will further propel reduction in the prevalence?
“Anybody that is positive will cut back because his or her intended wife, husband or in-laws may not be comfortable.
“We believe from cutting back, he or she will stop the habit or the prospective in- laws will rally round to help.”
Marwa appealed to religious leaders and parents to consider adopting the test for their children and their members before marriage.
He commended the Kano state governor for initiating and implementing drug tests for political office holders and called on other state governors to emulate him.
“We have a requests from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the School of Infantry, where we were able to carry out drug tests on their warrant officers,” he said.
“We did that at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.”