GOC says Nigerian Army winning fight against drug abuse in barracks, theatres

Posted by News Express | 3 November 2021 | 338 times

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•GOC 82 Div, Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja



The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, says the Nigerian Army is winning the fight against drug abuse in barracks and theatres through deploying international best practices.

Lagbaja, who was represented by the Chief of Staff of the Division, Brig.-Gen. Greg Omoregbe, said this at the inauguration of a three-day Capacity Building Seminar on Evidence-based Drug Prevention, Treatment and Control.

The seminar, which was organised by the Division in collaboration with Bensther Development Foundation and facilitated by 82 Division Medical Services and Hospital, was meant for Non-Medical Commanders, Principal Staff Officers, Commanding Officers, Adjutants, Administrative Officers and Decision Makers.

The GOC said that in recent time, the Nigerian Army had deployed international best practices in dealing with issues of drug abuse, spending resources and manpower to treat and rehabilitate drug abuse ill personnel and relations back to normalcy.

He said: “As you are all aware, military mobilisation, deployment and combat are often associated with severe mental and psychological stress for both the serving personnel and family members.

“Drug abuse has become increasingly recognised as a major coping mechanism, which has contributed to untoward behaviors amongst personnel and family members.

“The resultant effect of this rising trend is the negative impact on troops’ general health, discipline, unit cohesion, family function and general unit administration.

“Drug abuse also contributes in no small measure to various degrees of psychological incapacitation among affected individuals.

“Psychological incapacitation among troops and family dysfunction, negatively affects fighting capacity and unit operational effectiveness and efficiency.

“It is in recognition of this fact that 82 Division Medical Services and Hospital considered it necessary to partner with Bensther Development Foundation to organize this capacity building and mental health training for officers and decision makers in 82 Division.

“The seminar is designed to build the capacity and knowledge of participants so that you will be better placed to educate troops under command and their families on the dangers of drug abuse, prevention, treatment and control strategies.

“The choice of this audience is deliberate because of the pride of place you all occupy in the chain of command in the military as decision makers.

“You were all deliberately chosen to attend this seminar because the troops and families in the barracks/cantonments look up to you for guidance and direction in their daily lives”.

The GOC charged officers attending the seminar to approach it with all seriousness and share experiences while relating to their troops and barracks/cantonments members so that drug abuse would be totally eliminated in the nearest future.

Lagbaja also thanked the Bensther Development Foundation for finding the Division worthy of the seminar, adding; “We are thanking the foundation for its uncommon generosity in providing the resources”.

Speaking, Executive Director of Bensther Development Foundation, Mr Nonso Maduka, lauded the Nigerian Army for already adopting a working international best practice of treating its personnel with drug abuse ailment instead of abandoning or stigmatising such personnel.

“Our work is made easier since the Army has already adopted international best practice of treating and caring for its personnel with drug abuse ailment for three months free-of-charge and ensuring that such fellow is fully rehabilitated and re-integrated.

“This is quite commendable and innovative of the Nigerian Army, being likely the first Army to adopt such robust practice in Africa.

“Thus, the Nigerian Army is seeing its personnel with drug abuse issues as someone with a public health issue that needed medical help and support to get back normal,” Maduka said.

He said that the seminar would involve a series of lectures and expositions that would aid the officers to take informed policy and administrative decisions on drug abuse and ultimately help to prevent drug abuse in the first place.

“The foundation will be looking at the possibility of supporting the Division’s hospital, especially its drug rehabilitation department/unit, with facilities to further facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation process within its limited resources,” he assured.

The Bensther Development Foundation is being supported by UNITE Global Network of Parliamentarians and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (appg) Drug Policy Reform.


Source: News Express

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