Civil societies networking on drug issues in Nigeria

UNODC has begun a process of engaging with civil society organizations (CSOs) to support drug prevention, treatment and care in Nigeria, under the European Union funded project to support Nigeria's effort in fighting illicit drug production, trafficking and use, and in curbing related organized crime, including counterfeit narcotics and psychotropic substances.

On 28 and 29 April 2015, 39 CSOs and representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Federal Ministry of Health, participated in a workshop in Lagos that reviewed and finalized a strategy for CSOs to support community-based interventions on drug prevention, treatment and care in Nigeria. During the workshop, the CSOs concluded plans to establish a network of CSOs working on drug prevention, treatment and care in Nigeria with linkage to other networks in the West African region.

As a follow-up to the Lagos meeting, another meeting of the CSOs network working committee and a number of other Abuja-based CSOs was held in Abuja on 18 May to develop a constitution for the network. Igor Koutsenok, Chief of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section at UNODC Vienna and Kevin Knight, an international consultant on drug treatment in prison settings attended the meeting.

Igor addressed the CSOs on evidence based drug treatment interventions that UNODC is implementing in prison settings globally and the role of CSOs in supporting similar drug related activities in Nigeria. He said CSOs play a vital role in designing and implementing successful drug prevention, treatment and care programs.

Because of their location within the community, CSOs are capable of implementing effective community-centered approaches to prevent drug abuse and tackle drug trafficking at the community level. "From many perspectives, working with CSOs is a gift that we have, because CSOs are more flexible, more cost effective, can do things much faster and are not bound by political ideas," said Igor.

For more information, please contact:

James Ayodele, Outreach and Communications Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Tel: 234 701 683 9159, 234 802 976 8649, E-mail: james.ayodele@unodc.org